HUNTERS FEAST IN TOMATO AND CANNELLINI BEAN SAUCE OVER HERBY GOUDA POLENTA
6 cups water
1½ cups polenta or yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
½ cup parmesan, shredded
¼ cup heavy cream
8 ounces raw bacon
4 links garlic chicken sausage
4 links chorizo chicken sausage
4 boneless duck breasts, skin on (about 2 pounds)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend
1 cup dry white wine
1, 28-ounce can Red Gold Whole Peeled Tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2, 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the polenta, pour the 6 cups of water into a 9” x 13” baking dish. Whisk polenta and salt into the water and bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small skillet and sauté the onions, thyme, and rosemary until fragrant and the onions are soft. Remove from heat.
Remove polenta from the oven and stir in onion and herb mixture, fresh parsley, and cheeses until smooth and cheeses are completely melted. Stir in heavy cream until well-combined and velvety. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to set before serving.
While the polenta cooks, cook the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels and chop when cool enough to handle.
Reserve about two tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the sausage links to the skillet and cook until they are browned on all sides about 4-5 minutes. They will not be cooked through but will continue cooking later in the sauce. This process makes it easy to cut them into 2” pieces without falling apart. Set the cut links aside with the chopped bacon.
Score the skin on the duck breasts all the way through without cutting into the meat in 1” intervals and then again in a criss-cross pattern the other way. Season the duck breasts on both sides with the salt and pepper and then press the herbs on both sides to coat. Heat the remaining fat in the skillet over medium heat. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and cook for 10-12 minutes until the skin is mahogany color and very crispy. Most of the fat should be rendered from the skin. Turn them over and cook for 3 more minutes on the other side. Remove from skillet reserving the rendered fat.
Add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the rendered fat in the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the carrots begin to get tender. Add the chopped pepper, rosemary, sage, and Italian seasoning to the pan and continue cooking for 3 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the white wine to the pan and cook on medium high heat until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the Red Gold tomatoes with juices to the pan along with the salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook crushing the tomatoes into pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula for 6-8 minutes allowing the flavors to meld and the tomatoes to start to cook down.
Add the bacon and sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Nestle the duck breasts into the sauce, making sure to leave the duck skin exposed, so it remains crispy. Let cook at a low boil for 8-10 minutes until the middle of the breasts registers 130-135 degrees.
Remove the duck breasts to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.
Add the beans to the pan and stir to combine. Cook on low while the breasts rest.
Slice the breasts across the grain into ½” medallions.
Serve the sauce over polenta and top with duck slices. Garnish with parsley, pour a glass of red, and DEVOUR!