One of the reasons that Distinctive Inns of New England are so well loved is because of the fabulous food guests discover upon each visit. Afterall, the don’t call this group DINE for nothing! Of course, if you’re looking for a spring getaway, the best idea is to get out of the kitchen and into one of the 11 DINE member inns. However, since we all know you can’t be on holiday all the time, here’s the next best thing. A DINE getaway at home! Here are a few wonderful recipes for either Easter dinner or to usher springtime to your dinner table. They make great ideas for your spring entertaining too.
Crispy Duck Breast with Orange Asparagus Bulgar, Asparagus Puree, and Orange Reduction from Rabbit Hill Inn ( serves 4)
Ingredients for Duck:
4 6oz Duck breasts
Method – Duck:
- Score duck breasts through the fatty side of the skin, but not all the way through the meat.
- Place large skillet on medium heat. No oil needed. Pan-fry duck breasts, skin side down, until skin browns and fat renders out.
- Turn breasts over, cook till golden.
- Remove breasts and set aside to rest.
Ingredients for Orange Asparagus Bulgar:
½ cup bulgar
1 cup of fresh orange juice
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, stems removed.
1 bunch of asparagus, break stems. Set 5 stalks aside for puree.
Side note about bulgar: Bulgar comes in a variety of sizes of grain, often referred to in a system from #1 to #4, varying from finest grind to the most coarse grind. The finer the grind, the less cooking time. The coarser the grind, you may need a bit more water in cooking process.
Method – Bulgar:
- In medium sauce pan, bring orange juice and tarragon to a simmer.
- Add bulgar, stir and cover. On low heat, cook for approx. 15 minutes or until bulgar has plumped up like a rice. Add more orange juice if needed.
- Slice asparagus thinly, on bias. Add sliced asparagus and stir.
- Set aside, off burner. Keep covered.
Ingredients for Asparagus Puree: Need blender/food processor
5 stalks of asparagus break stems. Chop.
Salt & pepper to taste
Method – Asparagus Puree:
- Place chopped asparagus in salted boiling water, boil till tender. Strain.
- Place asparagus in blender/processor. Puree.
- Add salt & pepper to taste
- Set aside for plating.
Ingredients for Orange Reduction Sauce:
1 cup of fresh orange juice
Method – Orange Reduction:
- In sauce pan, bring juice to boil. Reduce to syrup consistency. Set aside, off heat. Keep covered.
Putting it all together: Set oven to 350 degrees
- Flash the Duck breasts: Place duck breasts on baking pan with rack – skin side up. Place in oven for a few minutes to heat through.
- Slice breasts. Place each serving on plate.
- Add bulgar, surround with asparagus puree. Drizzle with Orange Reduction Sauce
Now, time for dessert! Top it all off with a decadent concoction of everyone’s favorite spring treats…maple and bacon!
Maple Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon from Chesterfield Inn
2 Tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar
¾ cup maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup pecan halves, toasted
vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Set rack in pan, lay bacon slices on rack. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon maple sugar evenly over bacon. Bake until sugar is melted, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle remaining sugar over bacon. Bake until deep brown and glazed, 12 to 14 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil bacon until sugar bubbles, watching closely so that it doesn’t burn. Cool on rack. Cut into ¼ inch dice.
Combine maple syrup and cinnamon sticks in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens and reduced to 1/2-3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Mix in lemon juice and ginger. Let stand at room temperature. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Garnish with toasted pecans and candied bacon.
Here are a few additional recipes that are perfect for Easter: