April 29, 2012

Chef Lee Richardson: Dry Cured Duck Breast

This guest blog post was written by 2012 Advisory Council member Chef Lee Richardson (Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel). Chef Richardson will be busy on Saturday, May 12 at the Festival: you can find him at ‘Chefs Eat Wild’, ‘Chefs Gone Wild’, and the Wild Game Dinner. For details on each of these events, visit his profile.

I am especially thrilled to be participating in the Wild Game Dinner at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. I’m all about wild, and it also gives me the opportunity to showcase my passion for cured and smoked meats – an obsession I’ve nurtured for as long as I can remember.

Fortunately, I’ve outgrown Slim Jims and other gas station snacks. Sadly, I’ll probably never know beef jerky again the way it was made in a New Orleans barbeque joint on Magazine Street called Kershenstein’s when I was a kid, but I will spend the next couple of decades trying to reproduce it. Please, call me if you know these folks. Beef jerky is the gateway to charcuterie, and pork the foundation — but duck is a particular fascination of mine. To paraphrase the expression regarding a pig’s squeal, you can use just about everything on a duck but the quack.  

Bringing together my love of cured meats and all things duck, I’ve developed a computer controlled “environmental chamber’ for curing and aging meats in my kitchen that we affectionately call “the duck box.” One of my contributions to the Wild Game Dinner will be Dry Cured Duck Breast, which is a favorite product of my duck box – but I can also teach those of you out there who haven’t got one how to replicate the effects of the duck box with your own garden-variety refrigerator. But beware: this stuff is so addictive, you may soon want a duck box of your own.