Recipe courtesy of Flying Mango

Smoked Duck Breast with Goat Cheese Grit Cake, Grilled Asparagus and Smoked Blueberry Sauce

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 5 hr 15 min
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Grits:

1 cup ground grits

1 cup cream 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

One 8-ounce package goat cheese 

Olive oil, for oiling griddle

Duck:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Four 6- to 8-ounce duck breasts, skin on 

Olive oil or melted butter, for basting

Asparagus:

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

20 stalks fresh asparagus, woody ends cut off 

Oil, for seasoning

Smoked Blueberry Sauce:

1 pint fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 

1 shot (3 tablespoons) dark rum 

Directions

Special equipment:
a smoker
  1. For the grits: Add grits to 2 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed steel pot. Bring to a light simmer over low heat, stirring frequently. When the grits start to thicken to an oatmeal consistency, add 1 cup of water and continue to cook in the same manner. Repeat with 1 more cup water.
  2. Once the grits start to thicken once more, add the cream and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the grits thicken again. Add the butter and allow to melt throughout.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Allow grits to cool, loosely covered, 2 hours, or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Reheat the grits over low to medium heat, stirring well, adding additional milk or cream if needed for the right consistency. Add the goat cheese and mix well. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Oil a hot skillet or griddle, then add a 6-ounce ladle or scoop of goat cheese grits. Cook through until a brown crust has developed on the bottom of the grit cake, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the grit cake with a spatula or pancake turner, making sure to get between the crust and the skillet, rather than between the crust and the grits. Continue to heat through until a bottom crust has developed, roughly 5 more minutes.
  7. For the duck: Prepare a smoker or grill for indirect cooking at 225 degrees F.
  8. Stir together salt and pepper in a bowl. Lightly rub duck breasts with salt and pepper, and place in your smoker or over indirect heat on your grill. Cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned from the smoke and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 150 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Remove from smoker and allow to rest at least 15 minutes. Preheat a grill (if you used a smoker) for cooking at 225 degrees F.
  9. To crisp the skin, lightly run a sharp knife in a cross-hatch pattern on the skin, then baste lightly with oil or melted butter. Place skin-side-down on the grill until skin is crispy but duck meat is not overcooked, about 5 minutes.
  10. For the asparagus: Meanwhile, preheat a grill for cooking over medium heat.
  11. Heat a large amount of water in a large stockpot over high heat. Add a generous handful of salt. Bring to a roiling boil.
  12. Add asparagus to the boiling water. (If you have a steamer basket, this is an excellent time to use it, as it makes fishing the asparagus out a breeze.) Cook the asparagus until just turning soft while still maintaining a bright green color. Remove the asparagus from the hot water and allow to cool completely, preferably in ice water.
  13. Rub the asparagus lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook until desired level of char appears on the stalks, about 5 minutes.
  14. For the smoked blueberry sauce: Meanwhile, add blueberries to a skillet or aluminum pan. Place blueberries in the smoker alongside the duck, taking care to leave room for air to circulate, and smoke until the berries take on a dusky midnight blue appearance, about 15 minutes. (Longer cooking will lead to stronger smoky flavor in the berries.)
  15. Remove the berries from the smoker, then heat them on the stove over high heat with the dark brown sugar. Add the dark rum, being careful of flames. Allow the alcohol to burn off and continue to heat the pan, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, the berries have released some of their juices, and the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
  16. Serve the duck breast over the grits with the sauce and asparagus.