Duck Confit and Exotic Mushroom by John Merrill of Aura at the

John Merrill
Aura at the Seaport Hotel
1 Seaport Lane
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 385 4300

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John Merrill

John is such a seafood fanatic, you’d think he was a native New Englander. In actuality, he hails from Long Island, and grew up fishing every day in the summer – catching bluefish and crabs and anything else the Long Island Sound had to offer. His first encounter with the culinary industry came at the age of 15 when he worked in a local fish market. He received hands on training in all aspects of the operation – cutting fish, working the cash registers, stuffing clams, and cleaning floors. Throughout his career, this CIA grad has demonstrated an aptitude for juggling the challenges and controlling the chaos of 24-hour hotel dining operations from his first externship at the JP Morgan Hotel in Connecticut to the Reach Resort in Key West, Florida, to the Boston Harbor Hotel and now the Seaport. John’s primary goal is to make his guests happy and give them what they want and need. His seafood-centric menu at Aura highlights local purveyors and daily catches as much as possible.


Duck Confit and Exotic Mushroom Wellington with Vanilla Bean-Game Reduction Sauce
Chef John Merrill of Aura at the Seaport Hotel – Boston, MA
Adapted by

Yield: 4 Servings


    Exotic Mushroom Filling:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • ½ Tablespoon chopped thyme
  • ¾ cup assorted wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, black trumpet, chanterelle, morel, maitake), thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Marsala or Madeira
  • 2 slices white bread, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Duck Confit Wellington:
  • Exotic mushroom filling
  • 1 cup duck confit
  • 1 (12-inch-square) sheet of all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 eggs, beaten

    Vanilla Bean-Game Reduction Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons cottonseed oil
  • 1 pound duck bones roasted
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups veal stock

  • Fresh herbs or tiny lettuces
  • Extra virgin olive oil


For Exotic Mushroom Mixture:
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the butter, garlic, shallots, and thyme. Cook until translucent, then add the mushrooms and turn the heat to high. Stir the mushrooms every 2 minutes until cooked through. Turn the heat to low and add the Marsala and bread. Cook another 5 minutes stirring constantly. Cool the mixture and chop until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Sauce:
In a large pot over medium-high heat add the cottonseed oil, duck bones, and all the dry ingredients. Cook for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Add the chicken and veal stock and reduce until the sauce has a thick consistency. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and keep warm.

To Assemble and Serve:
Cut the puff pastry into 4 (6-inch) square pieces. Place the mushroom mixture evenly in the center of each piece of pastry. Spread the duck confit evenly atop the mushroom mix. Fold the puff dough over the meat on the left and right sides. Brush the exposed puff pastry with the beaten eggs. Then roll the puff from bottom to top, ending with the seal on the bottom.

Place the pockets on a piece of wax paper, seal side down. Brush the tops with remaining egg wash and refrigerate. Pre-heat over to 350º F. Place the cold pockets in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Spoon some warm sauce onto the base of a plate. Place the Wellington atop the sauce and garnish with tiny lettuce or fresh herbs, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Wine Pairing:

Darioush Shiraz 2002

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   Published: March 2006