4  5oz duck breast
2 Acorn squash
4 Tbs. whole butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 whole bulb fennel
2 sprigs of thyme
1 whole lemon
1 cup white wine (dry)
1 rib of celery, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 onion, small dice
2 bay leaves
1/2 bottle red wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 orange

1) Add the celery, carrot, onion and the bay leafs to a sauce pot with a little oil, sauté and lightly brown the vegetables. Add the 1/2 bottle of red wine and reduce by half, then add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce by half again. Strain the liquid to remove all of the vegetables. Set aside.

2) Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop the seeds out, place cut side down in a sheet pan and roast in an oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. While still warm scoop out the meat of the squash and place that along with, the nutmeg, cinnamon, juice and zest of one orange, 2 tbs butter, salt and pepper in a food processor, puree until smooth.

3) Cut the bulb of fennel into fourths, place in a roasting pan with, thyme, lemon (cut in half) and the white wine, cover and cook 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove fennel from pan, you can toss everything else.

4) Score the duck breast 5-6 times on the fat side of the duck, season the meat side with a little salt and pepper and lay the ducks in a medium sauté pan fat side down, low heat. Cook until the fat is rendered and crispy, about 8-9 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place duck back in pan fat side down in an oven at 400 degrees for 9 minutes. In the same pan add your strained sauce you made earlier, bring to a boil and whisk the remaining whole butter into the sauce, reduce by half. Let your duck rest 5-10 minutes before cutting.

5) Place the puree on the bottom the plate, then add a quarter of the fennel along with the cut duck breast. Drizzle with the sauce to finish. Garnish with pomegranate seeds if desired.

Norma Buchholz