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'Corned' duck breast with tarragon-dijon cream, braised cabbage, and stout reduction



Ephemera's "corned" duck breast. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Ephemera's "corned" duck breast.


For duck:
2 quarts warm water 
(hot tap water is fine)
1 c. kosher salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp. mustard seed or powder
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground allspice
4 boneless duck breasts, skin on

For tarragon-Dijon cream:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. yellow onion, cut in small dice
1 tbsp. canola/vegetable oil
2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 sprig fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

For cabbage:
1/2 c. yellow onion, cut in small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. canola/vegetable oil
1/2 head red cabbage, sliced thin
1/4 lb. butter, cut in small slices
2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For stout reduction:
12 oz. heavy stout, we suggest Left Hand Milk Stout
1/4 c. sugar
Salt to taste

  • Casey Bradley Gent


For duck:
Mix water and seasonings, then let cool. Place duck breasts in brine, cover and refrigerate at least 6 and up to 24 hours. Remove from brine, gently rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Just before serving, heat a pan over medium-low heat and place duck breasts in pan skin-side-down without oil. Allow fat to render from breasts for about 5 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crispy. Turn over and cook skin-up until breasts are medium-rare to medium, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to rest for 5 minutes, slice.

For tarragon-Dijon cream:
In medium saucepan, simmer garlic and onion with oil until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and reduce to a sauce texture, about 5-10 minutes. Season to taste.

For cabbage:
In a pot over medium heat, simmer onion and garlic with oil until translucent. Add the sliced cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add all butter in small slices and allow to melt before adding chicken stock and vinegar. Allow to simmer until chicken stock is mostly reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste.

For stout reduction:
In a medium saucepan, reduce stout and sugar to a syrupy consistency. Add salt and adjust to taste — this sauce should be slightly bitter, so be careful not to over-sweeten.

To serve:
Set duck atop cabbage, top with tarragon-Dijon cream, drizzle with stout reduction. Serves 4.


This dish is a simplified rendition of one of my favorite winter creations, originally conceptualized for my first ever pop-up dinner before starting Ephemera. Typically, the sauce would be an ice cream (if you’re ambitious and have an ice cream maker, I encourage trying to use the tarragon-Dijon sauce recipe to make an ice cream) to create a fun texture and temperature juxtaposition on top of this rich, delicious entrée. It seemed risky as a concept, but the dish was such a surprise success that we will likely be making versions of it for years to come. To further simplify, store-bought corned beef simmered in stock would do just fine. Pair with a full-bodied Zinfandel or the same stout used for the reduction.

— Submitted by Ephemera chef/proprietor Ian Dedrickson and sous chef Adam Ridens

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