Duck Nuggets Recipe From The New Le Pigeon Cookbook

Oct 16, 2013 12:00 pm

Bridging the gap between kiddie and adult food

Photo: David L. Reamer
Photo: David L. Reamer
Nuggets have never been as sophisticated as in this recipe from Portland's Le Pigeon.

You haven't done dinner in Portland until you've done dinner at Le Pigeon, James Beard Rising Star Chef Gabriel Rucker's outrageously popular outpost. Combining the usual suspects with something totally unexpected is Rucker's game, so where you'd expect chicken in these of course, duck.

This recipe is a great way to introduce your kids to duck. After they try these nuggets, they’ll be on a one-way street to post-chickendom and will request this dish forevermore.

Reprinted with permission from Le Pigeon

Servings: 25 nuggets


neutral oil for frying
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
Duck mixture
1 pound duck confit
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Dijon dipping sauce
1 cup prune juice
4 prunes (dried plums), finely chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

For the duck mixture:

  1. Using a knife, finely shred and chop the meat and skin of the duck confit. In a medium bowl, stir together the shredded confit, sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard and set aside.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, sage, thyme, garlic powder, paprika and mustard powder and sauté until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool. When the mixture is just cool enough to handle, add the confit mixture and mix with your fingers. Let cool for another 20 minutes before forming the nuggets.

For the dipping sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the prune juice, prunes and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced to about 2 tablespoons of liquid, about 7 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool. Once cool, stir in the Dijon mustard. If the sauce seems too thick, add water to thin. Set aside.

For the nuggets:

  1. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Place the flour and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes next to the eggs. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the duck mixture and use your hands to form it into a nugget shape (we know you know what nuggets look like, don’t pretend you don’t!). Dip the nuggets into the flour first, then the egg and finally into the bread crumbs. Set the nuggets aside on a platter.
  2. Pour oil to a depth of ½ inch in a large skillet and heat over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, carefully add the nuggets to the oil. Working in batches of about 8 nuggets, fry for 90 seconds, flip to the other side, and continue to fry for 90 seconds more. Transfer the nuggets to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. 
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and serve with the dipping sauce.

Try out these duck recipes on Food Republic:

Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
1 hour plus cooling time
Cooking Time: 
30 minutes
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