Jordan Hajek, Chef de Cuisine at Atelier by Sofitel at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour hotel, shares his recipe for smoked / fermented pumpkin with chanterelles, duck and goji – a dish inspired by the time he spent cooking in Scandinavia, where we worked at Noma in Copenhagen.

  

Ingredients

  • Grapeseed oil (or neutral-flavoured oil)
  • Dried Mexican morita chillies
  • Goji berries
  • Pedro Ximenez vinegar
  • Smoked duck fat
  • Wild or high-quality farmed duck (breast)
  • Duck livers
  • Toasted buck wheat
  • Chanterelle mushrooms
  • Butternut pumpkin

 

Method

First step is to lacto-ferment your pumpkin: peel, de-seed and cut it into 8cm x 5cm pieces and submerge into a brine bath for 20 minutes. Remove from the brine bath and place into a vacuum seal bag and seal, removing all air. You will know it’s ready when the texture of the pumpkin changes and the bag is inflated like a balloon. This usually takes 48 hours give or take.

Second step is to soak your goji berries in the Pedro Ximenez vinegar until the double in size. At the same time, soak your morita chillies in warm water, once done, set aside. Clean and portion your chanterelle mushrooms, removing any woody parts and residue from growing location.

Third step is the duck. Remove the skin, silver it, and remove any remaining fat, you want a lean piece of duck. Proceed to cleaning livers of any connective tissues and dice into small 1cm x 1cm cubes. Do the same with the lean duck meat.

Remove soaked morita chillies from the water and drain; squeeze to remove excess water. Blend soaked chillies with grapeseed oil until emulsified but textured. Blitz your toasted buckwheat until coarse. Set aside.

Fourth step: cut fermented pumpkin into required baton shape and place on a lined tray, cover with cling film and steam until hot. In a cold pan, melt a tablespoon of duck fat until completely melted and warm. Next, add your diced duck meat, sauté for 1 min until sealed (but still rare inside), add livers and sauté for a further 2 mins, season with salt and Pedro Ximenez and set aside. To the same pan, add more duck fat and sauté your mushrooms for 3-4 mins; you may need to add some water to the pan as the mushrooms will absorb the liquid. Set aside, ensure to reserve pan juices. Mix the mushrooms and duck together. Season to taste.

Plating: in a prepared heirloom pumpkin (inside cleaned out and lined with wax), add duck and mushroom mixture and pan juices. Ensure contents are warm, not hot. Place steamed fermented pumpkin on top of the duck “ragout”. Place soaked goji berries around the pumpkin, season pumpkin with morita oil and toasted buckwheat. Place lid of the pumpkin back on and serve.

 

Do you want to read more from him? Check out his interview here.