Edible Berkshires

Duck, Goose, Goose—Three Ways


By Executive Chef Chris Bonnivier
at The Orchards Hotel, Williamstown

Preparation requires two stages, three weeks apart.

Although stage two of this recipe is made with goose, duck can be substituted.

Serves 6


2 duck breasts, skin and excess fat removed and reserved
3 ounces kosher salt
1 bay leaf, crushed
3 tablespoons pickling spice
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together and rub VERY generously over the duck breasts. Wrap in cheesecloth and put in a pan large enough to fit a foil-wrapped brick on top of each breast. Place pan in refrigerator for three weeks, draining pan of liquids every 2–3 days.

The breasts will feel hard and well-pressed when properly cured.

Wipe breasts with warm damp cloth.

Wrap in new cheesecloth and refrigerate until ready to use.

Render skin and fat:

Cut reserved skin and fat into medium-sized pieces and put into a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Add ¼ cup water and simmer over medium heat until water evaporates and skin pieces are crisp and have released all their fat, about ½ hour. Store released fat in refrigerator for later use, in Stage Two.


1 whole small goose, available fresh from Climbing Tree Farm from March to October. (Can substitute 1 medium duck, available at the Meat Market, Mazzeo’s or Wild Oats, all by advance special order.)

Halve bird lengthwise and remove breasts from both sides, deboning the breast away from the breast plate.

Separate thighs, with leg attached, from the backbone.

You may certainly ask your butcher to do the prep above as well.

Strip down the remaining fat and skin from the bird and render it, as in Stage 1.

Reserve released fat for later use.


Reserved fat from Stages 1 and 2

2 thighs with leg attached, pierce skin carefully at an angle on top of leg and center of thigh with sharp knife; this will allow fat to seep out
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 ounces hoisin sauce
2 ounces honey

Wash and dry thighs.

Place small amount of rendered fat in a baking pan or casserole large enough to hold thighs without overlapping. Pour remaining rendered fat over thighs; season with salt, thyme and garlic; cover with foil and place in cold oven, setting at 275°, for 4-plus hours, until the meat is just falling away from the bone.

Remove from oven; allow to cool to room temperature. Remove skin and discard, or consume skin on the spot, yum! Remove meat from bone, shredding it finely with your hands. Season with hoisin sauce and honey; allow to chill. Pack the meat mixture into molds; refrigerate until it becomes firm.

When ready to use reheat in 350° oven on a lightly oiled pan for 7 minutes or so.


Wash and dry breasts. Season with salt to taste.

Using a sharp knife, score skin in a checkerboard or diamond pattern.

Cut each breast across grain into 3 equal portions.

In a dry sauté pan, on medium heat, brown breasts skin side down; turn, and brown bottom until internal temperature is 130°.


6 ounces celery root (celeriac), peeled and diced small
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 ounces butter

Soften butter in a small saucepan; add celeriac, sugar and salt; turn heat to a very low temperature, cooking very slowly about 30–40 minutes, until the celeriac will melt in your mouth.


3 Meyer lemons
6 ounces sugar
4 ounces water
1 large roasted beet, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 ounces butter

Slice Meyer lemons very thin. Place in stainless steel saucepan with sugar and water. Slowly cook down until it starts thickening. Remove from heat; add beets, stirring while mix is still hot. Allow to cool a bit; add butter, stirring to melt.

Let cool to room temperature and reserve for plating.


1 small head frisee or lettuce of choice, washed
6 ounces Cricket Creek tobasi cheese
2 sheets phyllo dough

Slice prosciutto paper thin and trim a little of the fat if necessary.

Cut a small wedge, about ¾ ounce, tobasi cheese and wrap with 1/3 sheet phyllo dough. Cook at 400° for 2–3 minutes, or until brown.

Trim with frisee.