Bacon-Wrapped Duck-Stuffed Morels
Ground duck with its bits of juicy fat is perfect for basting morels from the inside out. Strangely enough, with all the exquisite stuffings made and gobbled at my parties here, no one has ever used duck. This mighty duck stuffing slid inside a morel and belted around by smoky bacon is not for fat-fearing sissies.
Any leftover ground duck mixture makes an extremely good burger.
Serves 4 to 6; Makes about 2½ cups stuffing
For The Stuffing:
- 2 large boneless duck breasts, skin on (1¼ pounds)
- 4 slices smoked bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- Trim the skin and fat off the duck breasts. Weigh out 3 ounces of skin and fat and place on a dish in the freezer. Use whatever remains in another recipe.
- Cut the duck meat into 1-inch cubes and place it in a medium bowl. Add the bacon, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. Stir everything together well to coat with the seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Just before grinding the duck meat, remove the duck fat from the freezer (freezing the duck fat enables it to grind more easily and evenly in the meat). Working quickly, cut it into ¼-inch cubes. If it gets too soft, return it to the freezer to firm up again. Mix the cubes of duck fat into the duck meat.
- Place the meat in a meat grinder fitted with the coarse die and grind through. Alternatively, pulse/chop the meat in the bowl of a food processor. The texture will not be as even in a food processor.
- Put the mixture through the grinder once more, then place it in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the white wine and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
- Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container. The stuffing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before using.
For The Morels:
- 2½ cups duck stuffing (above)
- 20 to 24 large gray morels, cleaned
- 10 to 12 slices smoked bacon, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- Fleur de sel
- Place the stuffing mixture in a piping bag fitted with a tip small enough to fit inside the mushrooms. Place the tip inside the mushroom and gently squeeze the piping bag, being careful not to overstuff it to bursting.
- Wrap each mushroom with a slice of the bacon, pressing the overlapping ends of the bacon to seal.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, the overlapping ends of the bacon facedown.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, making sure that the macon is cooked and golden brown before turning and that the sausage is fully cooked by the time the bacon is done, about 10 to 12 minutes. Hold the cooked mushrooms in a warm place until all of them are done. Sprinkle the warm mushrooms with fleur de sel before serving