Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vieux Gras with Foie Gras-Infused Cognac

Mixology Monday November didn't end up occurring, but this Monday will be MxMo December, hosted by Kevin Langmack at Beers in the Shower, with the theme "Money Drinks."  The theme is open to interpretation, and Kevin offers several examples.  The one I'm going with is the indulgent cocktail using special ingredients, in this vein from his site:
Along with what you mentioned, I'm thinking it could include stuff along the lines of "there are some drinks that really prompt you to break out the good stuff", including ways people upgrade drinks for special occasions -- having old friends over, birthday drinks, etc, for example mixing your regular Sazerac, but breaking out the Red Hook Rye and the Jade Edouard absinthe for a Sazerac capable of breaking the sound barrier." - the only rule to this one is you actually have to make it
Before the official announcement post, Paul Clarke mentioned several upcoming events, one of which was this MxMo, but I glanced quickly at it and misread the theme as "Monkey Drinks."  I was anxiously awaiting Kevin's announcement wondering what that meant, and commented thusly about my mistake once he posted it, if you are wondering what Paul was talking about on the MxMo website.  But I guess "Monkey Drinks" is for another episode.  

As you can guess from the title of this post, the indulgent ingredient I'm going with is foie gras.  As in foie gras-infused cognac.  Oh, and 25 year old Balsamic vinegar.  And some Sauternes.  (No, not Château d'Yquem, not even I am that silly.  Ok, well maybe I could be, but I wasn't this time.)  I actually got this idea in my head a while ago, but only made it last week, as it's not often I have foie gras lying around.  This time serendipity prevailed and the timing was perfect, since for the inagural Iron Chef Tribeca we recently hosted I procured an entire foie gras liver, so I finally had my chance.  The idea for the drink was basically to make an Old Fashioned, but using the foie gras-infused cognac for the spirit and a curry caramelized pear sauce for the sweetener.  And a dash of balsamic, since I use that for the actual seared foie dish.  So here's my submission for MxMo:
Vieux Gras
  • 2 oz foie gras-infused cognac*
  • ½ oz  curry caramelized pear sauce**
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • dash aged balsamic to finish
stir and strain into double old fashioned glass with one giant cube***, top with dash balsamic, garnish with slice of Cortland apple (they don't brown!).  ½ oz of the sauce sounds like a lot, as it is sweet, but roughly half is chunks of fruit that will (mostly) stay in the stirring vessel.
*To infuse the cognac, do a simple fat wash with the rendered fat (don't let it burn!) from cooking the foie gras using the same procedure as you would for Bacon-infused bourbon.  This infused cognac is also a damn fine sipper, feel free to drink unadulterated.

**Here's how to make the sauce:
Curry Caramelized Pear Sauce
  • 2 pears (or quince or apples, I used apples for Iron Chef)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (madras is nice)
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 2 oz Sauternes (or other sweet white wine)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Dice the pear. In a thick bottom pot make a caramel with the sugar. (I add a dash of corn syrup, the different sugar molecule helps stablize the caramel.)  When golden brown add Sauternes and stir to dissolve. Add the fruit, cinnamon, and the curry and simmer until the quince is soft.  Keep warm for seared foie or cool to make Vieux Gras.
Simmering Sauce.

Finished Sauce.

Cleaning and portioning the foie.

Plating with the aged Balsamic.

And the finished dish.

***How'd you make that giant ice cube you ask?

Simple, get yourself some of these ice trays from the MoMa store to delight your friends at your next gathering.

(late) UPDATE: Here's the roundup.


  1. Awesome post. I've got to try that foie gras infused cognac as soon as I get my hands on some foie gras. Out of curiosity, what is the recipe for the dish itself?

  2. Thanks!

    Once you've got the sauce (and the foie gras) the rest of the dish is super simple. Just season the slice of foie with salt and pepper, sear it quickly on both sides in a very hot preheated nonstick pan, then slap it on a piece of toasted brioche, spoon on some sauce, and drizzle with balsamic.

    The cooking is very quick, like 30 sec maybe? You just want it to get a light crust and warm and soften the middle. If you cook it longer it just renders more fat so you end up with less to serve.

    (for the bit of rendered fat for the infusion I'd do it at lower heat to keep it from getting burned bits though)

  3. Very cool...and very Escoffier of you to do foie-gras infused Cognac! I'm impressed.


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