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Duck Burgers with Rhubarb Compote, Warm Brie, and Leek Relish

My first memory of experiencing “fine dining” at a restaurant was a moist duck breast paired with fruit. This burger is a luxurious marriage of those same rich flavors that works beautifully to entertain casually, but with a posh edge. This is a wonderful way to enjoy duck for those who like it but aren't familiar with how to cook it.

Ingredients 

For the leek relish:
2 Tablespoons Colavita Olive Oil
3 large leeks, white part only, trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Grey Poupon Country Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
For the patties:
8 oz foie gras (if foie gras is unavailable, use 8 oz of duck breast with skins reserved)
1 1/2 lbs. ground duck breast, skins reserved
2 teaspoons kosher salt
For Rhubarb Compote:
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water
2 ½ cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1” pieces
½ cup dried cherries
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 (1-2 oz slices) brie cheese
6 brioche rolls, split
6 leaves butter lettuce, cleaned and dried

Instructions 

To make the leek relish: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high. Preheat a large fire proof skillet to medium-high heat on the grill. Add the olive oil and leeks, and sauté until they are tender, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the leeks from the heat, place into a bowl, and cool. Once cool, add vinegar, mustard, and salt to taste. Set aside. To make the rhubarb compote: Preheat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat on the grill. Combine sugar, water, rhubarb, cherries, and horseradish in the pan. Bring to a boil (increase the grill heat if necessary to achieve this), and stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until the rhubarb and cherries are very soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Set aside. To make the patties: If using foie gras, combine the ground duck meat, foie gras, and only 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt a large bowl. Mix very gently to combine, being careful not to over mix the meat. Divide the meat into six equal portions, making a small indention in the middle to prevent the burgers from bulging. Set aside. If foie gras is unavailable, place 8 ounces of the reserved duck skins into a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the skins are very finely ground. Mix the 8 ounces of skins with the remaining ground duck meat and add 2 teaspoons salt. Mix very gently to combine, being careful not to over mix the meat. Divide the meat into six equal portions, making a small indention in the middle to prevent the burgers from bulging. Set aside. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Grill the patties with the grill top closed for 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill about 3 minutes longer, or until the duck meat reaches medium rare. Cook longer if you desire more doneness. During the final few minutes of cooking, top each patty with 2 slices of brie and cook until the brie is warm and melted. During the last 2 minutes of grilling the patties, place the rolls, cut side down, on the grill to toast. To assemble the burgers, place a patty atop each bottom bun. Top each patty with about 1/4 cup of the rhubarb compote and a leaf of butter lettuce. Spread 2-3 Tablespoons of the leek relish on top of each burger and top with the bun. Makes 6 burgers