Tuesday 22 June 2010

Coffee Roasted Duck with Potato, Pear and Artichoke Ragu

Coffee Beans

Swedes are obsessed with coffee. They like it strong. They like it hot. And they like it many times a day. Consequently one of my favourite places in Gothenburg is a coffee shop called Bar Centro which is the hipster dive bar alternative to Starbucks. Their coffee is super strong and unbelievably good. They’ve got me hooked on something they call a 50-50 which is a double espresso super charged with hot milk. It’s a sort of lengthened version of a macchiato but without being as long or frothy as a cappuccino. It’s strong, bitter, sweet and creamy.

So when I saw a recipe for coffee roasted duck in Marcus Samuelsson’s book my eyes lit up and my pulse started racing as if I had just ingested a litre of espresso. The background story to this dish is a confluence of his Ethiopian and Swedish roots. He recalls the smell of his grandmother making coffee from scratch by roasting green coffee beans in a pan that filled their house with an enchanting scent and then layers the Swedish culture for coffee consumption on top of this to create a dish that is very unique. And delicious.

I’ve adapted Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for both the coffee roasted duck and potato and pear ragu

Ingredients (for one):


1 duck breast
2 cups of coffee
12 cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon
2 handfuls of coffee beans
Cinnamon powder

Potato and pear ragu

1 firm pear
4 small potatoes
3 Jerusalem artichokes
3 tablespoons of crème fraiche
1 endive
150 mls of chicken stock


Wake up. Brew the coffee. Pound half of the cardamom pods and add them to the coffee along with the cinnamon. Allow the coffee to cool. Then slash the skin of the duck breast and marinate all day in the fridge.

Return from work and remove the duck from the marinate. It should look similar to the picture below. Pat it dry, sprinkle with salt and return to the fridge with nothing covering it so that the skin dries out.

Coffee duck marinade

Peel and core the pear leaving it in half. Simmer until tender in water with a few cardamom pods, a sprinkling of tarragon and some honey thrown in. You can cook it in red wine but I didn’t have any because of Sweden’s ridiculous licensing laws that mean you can’t buy wine in a supermarket.

Meanwhile boil the potatoes in chicken stock. When they are 8 minutes from being tender add the peeled Jerusalem artichokes. Remove from the heat and drain the potatoes and artichokes, but keep some of the liquor.

Duck cooking in coffee

Now add you duck breast skin side down to a medium-hot frying pan and render the fat out. Shake some cinnamon powder over the underside of the duck. Drain off some duck fat. Then add the coffee beans and cardamom pods and turn up the heat. The kitchen should fill with an intoxicating smell. Once the skin is crisp turn the duck over and the heat down. Add some of the reserved liquor from the potato and artichoke pan and finish the cooking by braising.

Slice the vegetables and then return them to the heat and add the crème fraiche and some more liquor to heat through along with a touch of butter. After five minutes or so add some shredded endive and slices of perfectly poached pear. Season with gusto and add more tarragon.

Discard the coffee beans and cardamom and allow the duck to rest then carve diagonally and serve with the ragu for a very unusual, but utterly delicious dinner.

Coffee duck 1

The combination works brilliantly. The duck was pink and moist with some of the crispiest skin I've encountered for a long time. It turns out that duck is tailor made for the bitter aromatic aspects of coffee. And the creamy ragu with the sweetness of pear is the equivalent of adding a tempering dollop of foam on top of an intense espresso. It's an unusual dish. And I am delighted to have discovered it.

Further reading:

Coffee roasted duck recipe from Marcus Samuelsson
Potato and pear ragu recipe from Marcus Samuelsson
Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine on Amazon


Unknown said...

Wow, I can't even begin to imagine what this tastes likes..I am very fascinated.

Just Cook It said...

That's seriously cool. My only experience of duck and coffee was a hideous, overly sweet sticky effort I ate in Thailand - a real car-crash of a dish. However, I imagine a version dreamt up my Marcus Samuelsson is slightly more refined. Need to get that book

Hollow Legs said...

Brilliant; loving the sound of this.

Dan said...

What an incredibly interesting recipe Browners. Seriously unusal combination, I'm going to have to try it for myself. BTW - lovely photos dude.

Jonathan said...

@Jennifuria - Tastes good. Glad you are fascinated!

@Just Cook It - I can imagine it tasting super yucky... but this was good! Hats off to Marcus.

@Lizzie - thanks

@Dan - Glad you like the photos... I must have taken about 40!

gastrogeek said...

what a genius idea!

Jonathan said...

@gastrogeek - Thanks - although not exactly my own idea. Many of Marcus Samuelsson's ideas are pretty awesome. Just wish I could claim credit for it.

Helen said...

Coffee roasted duck! Now that does take my fancy I have to say. What an interesting idea. I am also loving the sound of the 50/50. Rock on.

Paunchos said...

@Helen - It's all good. I'm sure The Rye would love it.

Unknown said...

Very interesting and inventive - loving the scandi posts

Paunchos said...

@Gourmet Chick - Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the Scandi stuff!


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