Chicago, IL – Michael Watz, a chef instructor at City Colleges of Chicago’s premier Washburne Culinary Institute, really knows how to give duck its proper due. Watz scored big with a winning second-place recipe in the 2012 Discover Duck Recipe contest sponsored by Indiana-based Maple Leaf Farms, a food supplier of duck products for both the food service and retail industries.
The annual contest challenged entrants in two categories – professional chef and culinary student – to produce an original small plate recipe showcasing a Maple Leaf Farms duck product. More than 250 entries were received from across the nation in competition for the cash prizes.
Watz claimed the second place prize of $3,000 in the professional chef category with his submission of Manchego Duck Pintxos with Tapas Red Curry Cream recipe (see below).
“I hope my experience reinforces the values we work to impart to our Washburne Culinary Institute students – encouraging them to develop strong basic culinary skills, to continually challenge themselves to grow and learn more, and to demonstrate their passion for food, thoughtfulness, and creativity in each and every dish they prepare,” said Chef Watz.
Watz has been a chef instructor at Washburne Culinary Institute for three years. He began his career serving as a sous chef at the Beverly Hilton Hotel primarily in the L’Escoffier Restaurant before later landing management positions in numerous restaurant operations including Dick Clark’s Bandstand Grill restaurants and Loews Entertainment. In addition, Watz has been featured in both Gourmet and People’s Magazines, and recently won The Perfect 3 recipe contest on the Cooking Channel earlier this year for his Olive Oil Poached Ahi Tuna Mazatlan with Fennel Tarragon Salad.
“Chef Walz’s success is a testament to the high quality of instruction we offer to students at Washburne Culinary Institute – and for a fraction of the cost of private culinary schools,” said Kristopher Murray, Executive Director and Executive Chef of Washburne Culinary Institute. “Our top-notch team of instructor chefs, state-of-the-art facilities with the latest professional equipment, and growing relationships with potential employers are key reasons why our students are job ready once they complete their Washburne education.”
All submissions were judged anonymously for their simplicity (easily sourced ingredients and ease of preparation), originality, flavor, the accuracy of the recipe ingredients, and method. The recipes selected as finalists went through two additional blind evaluations. The first place winner in the chef category receiving $5,000 was Andrea Spring of Sign of the Mermaid Restaurant in Anna Maria, Florida for submitting the Ale and Apple Duck Banderillas dish with Pralined Bacon and Apple Hoisin Sauce.
“Each of our judging panels was impressed with the creativity of the chefs and the variety of duck products used this year,” said Cindy Turk, Maple Leaf Farms Marketing Director.
Chef Michael Watz’s Winning Duck Recipe:
Manchengo Duck Pintxos
with Tapas Red Curry Cream
Ingredients Serves 4
Maple Leaf Farms Ground Duck 2 LB
Fresh basil, thinly sliced 1/3 cup
Fresh oregano, chopped 1 Tablespoon
Fresh parsley, chopped 1 Tablespoon
Fresh garlic, finely chopped 1 Tablespoon
Fresh shallots, finely chopped 1 Tablespoon
Fresh lemon zest, finely grated 2 teaspoons
Kosher salt 1 ½ Tablespoons
Smoked paprika 1 Tablespoon
Granulated sugar 1 teaspoon
Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon
Black pepper, ground 3/4 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, ground 1/2 teaspoon
Dijon mustard 1 Tablespoon
Balsamic vinegar 3 Tablespoons
Manchengo cheese, cut into ½ oz dices 16 oz
Olive oil ¼ cup
Arugula greens, stems removed washed and well dried 2 cups
Mango Salad, see recipe below 1 cup
Goat cheese, crumbled 1/4 cup
Tapas Red Curry Cream, see recipe below 1/2 cup
Lime wedge 4 each
Fresh cilantro 8 sprigs
1. In a chilled mixing bowl, place the Maple Leaf Farms Ground Duck, add the fresh herbs, seasonings, spices, mustard and balsamic vinegar; lightly combine taking care not to over mix. Portion the ground duck mixture into 32, 1 oz size meat balls. Make a small indentation in each meat ball; insert a piece of diced Manchengo cheese, tightly roll into a ball shape. Place the duck meatballs onto a clean tray.
2. In a large non stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. In batches place the duck meatballs into the skillet and sear on each side for approximately 2 minutes or until nicely browned. Gently remove the duck meatballs from the skillet; arrange onto a baking tray which has been sprayed with non stick vegetable cooking oil. Continue to cook any remaining duck meatballs adding additional olive oil to the skillet as needed.
3. Place the tray of duck meatballs into a 375-degree oven and bake for 5-6 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked and have an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the duck meatballs from the oven transferring to a clean pan. Reserve in a warm area covered with foil.
4. To Serve:
a. Neatly arrange 2 duck meatballs onto 24 each; 8 inch decorative skewers made from bamboo or metal.
b. Attractively place 1/2 cup of arugula greens in the center of 4 decorative serving platters. Spoon ¼ cup of the Mango Salad on top of the arugula greens. Arrange 4 duck skewers around the perimeter of each platter.
c. Decoratively sprinkle 1 tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese over each Mango Salad. Place the Spiced Red Curry Cream into a squirt bottle; drizzle 2 tablespoons of Spiced Red Curry Cream around the perimeter of each platter.
d. Garnish each platter with a wedge of lime and 2 sprigs of fresh cilantro.
Mango Tapas Salad
Mangoes, peeled, pitted, julienne sliced 16oz
English cucumbers, seeded, cut into quarters, thinly sliced 8oz
Carrots, julienne sliced 8oz
Red onion, small diced 4oz
Red bell peppers, seeded, small diced 4oz
Fresh cilantro, chopped ¼cup
Freshly squeezed orange juice ¼cup
Freshly squeezed lime juice ¼cup
Orange zest, finely grated 1 teaspoon
Lime zest, finely grated 1 teaspoon
Tabasco Sauce ½ teaspoon
Kosher salt 1 teaspoon
Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon
Black pepper, ground ½ teaspoon
Ground coriander ½ teaspoon
Lightly toss all ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Lightly toss again before serving.
Tapas Red Curry Cream
Sour cream 2 2/3 cups
Freshly squeezed lime juice 2 tablespoons
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped 2 tablespoons
Tabasco Sauce 2 teaspoons
Red curry paste 2 tablespoons
Smoked paprika 1 teaspoon
Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon
Kosher salt 2 teaspoons
Place all ingredients into a chilled mixing bowl, mixing with a whisk. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes allowing the flavors to marry.