Recipes Part I 

click to enlarge Confit of Duck Shanks with Sauce Cassandra
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Briarhurst Manor Estate: Confit of Duck Shanks with Sauce Cassandra

Briarhurst Manor Estate
404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864, briarhurstdining.com

Confit of Duck Shanks with Sauce Cassandra

2 fresh duck shanks

3 garlic cloves, whole

1 tsp. whole peppercorn

Bay leaf

Sprig of thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce Cassandra:

2½ tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)

1 tsp. shallots, minced

1 tsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. ginger, minced

3 oranges

1 oz. Grand Marnier

pinch salt

pinch sugar

fresh cracked pepper

To prepare and confit the duck shanks:

Remove the thigh bones and season with salt and pepper. Sear the skin in hot cast-iron pan until skin is golden brown. Reserve the rendered fat for the confit.

To confit the duck shanks, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the shanks in a roasting pan and cover duck with duck fat, or lard if you don't have enough duck fat. Add to the pan: the whole garlic cloves, whole peppercorn, bay leaf and thyme. Cover the pan with a lid or foil.

Allow to cook for 2½ hours, after which the duck will be tender. Strain from fat and serve.

For the sauce Cassandra:

In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add ½ tablespoon unsalted butter to shallot, garlic and ginger; allow to cook until translucent. Then add zest and juice from oranges, and 1 ounce of Grand Marnier (Triple Sec will also do). Allow alcohol to burn off, then add a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and fresh cracked pepper. Finish by whisking in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Serves 2.


This is a fairly simple dish to prepare, and it can be served with any variety of sides. I like to serve it with grilled asparagus or roasted Cipollini onions. It's best and most comforting when prepared with love and eaten with friends. Please enjoy.

— Submitted by chef Tyler Peoples

click to enlarge Chocolate Orange Mayan Cookie Sandwich with Almond Milk
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Chevy Lee Raw Foods: Chocolate Orange Mayan Cookie Sandwich with Almond Milk

Chevy Lee Raw Foods
515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 205-4639, facebook.com/chevyleerawfoods

Chocolate Orange Mayan Cookie Sandwich with Almond Milk


3 c. raw cashews

2 c. dried shredded coconut (not sweetened)

c. golden flax, ground

c. water

c. agave nectar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1½ tsp. sea salt

Orange crème:

1½ c. raw cashews

1 c. coconut butter, liquified (to liquify, place in a dehydrator for 15 minutes)

c. agave nectar

2 tbsp. water

6 tsp. orange extract

2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

Mayan chocolate:

6 tbsp. raw cacao powder

c. agave nectar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. cinnamon

couple dashes cayenne powder

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp. coconut butter, liquified


2 oranges, sliced into rounds (to be placed inside the cookie)

1 orange, sliced into rounds and then quartered to make triangles

6 tbsp. dried shredded coconut (not sweetened)

Almond milk:

3 c. raw almonds, soaked for 8 hours and rinsed

7 c. water

For cookies:

Place the cashews and coconut into a food processor and process until finely ground. Place this mixture into a bowl. Add remainder of ingredients and stir until well-combined. Roll cup dough into a ball, then flatten into a round cookie shape and place on a dehydrator tray with a Teflex sheet. Repeat this procedure until you have all 12 cookies made. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 6 hours. Flip mixture over onto a dehydrator tray without a Teflex sheet. Dehydrate for another 6 to 10 hours. Refrigerate.

For orange crème:

Place the cashews into a food processor and process until very fine. Place processed cashews into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until semi-firm (frosting consistency).

For Mayan chocolate:

Combine first six ingredients listed in a blender. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, add the liquified coconut butter. Set aside.

For almond milk:

Place almonds and water in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until creamy. Pour mixture through a nut milk bag or several layers of cheese cloth. Squeeze the milk from the pulpy water into a separate container. Pour the milk into glasses and serve. The pulp can be composted, tossed out or dehydrated to make almond flour.

For assembly:

Place cup orange crème on one cookie and spread. Place an orange slice on top, then top with another cookie. Place a dollop of the chocolate sauce on top, then two little orange triangles on top of the dollop. Drizzle with more chocolate and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and cayenne if desired. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate solidifies. Serve with a cold glass of almond milk.


Cookies and milk are comfort foods for adults and kids alike. This is my version of the ultimate cookie, and it is so good because it is raw, naturally gluten-free and made with agave nectar. Orange and chocolate are nearly perfect partners, and the addition of cinnamon and cayenne gives this favorite combination a spicy twist. Enjoying this sweet treat with a cold glass of raw, homemade almond milk is the perfect, comforting, not-so-guilty pleasure.

— Submitted by owner/chef Martine Purdy

click to enlarge Tequila Lime Shrimp with Smoked Cheddar and Jalapeño Grits
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Cheyenne Mountain Resort: Tequila Lime Shrimp with Smoked Cheddar and Jalapeño Grits

Cheyenne Mountain Resort
3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, 538-4000, cheyennemountain.com

Tequila Lime Shrimp with Smoked Cheddar and Jalapeño Grits

For shrimp:

2 oz. unsalted butter (divided)

4 limes (zest and juice)

4 oz. garlic cloves, chopped

½ lb. shrimp (peeled, cleaned, tails removed)

1 oz. tequila

1 bunch fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

For grits:

2 oz. unsalted butter (divided)

1 jalapeño

4 c. water

½ c. grits

½ c. shredded smoked cheddar

c. roasted corn

Salt and pepper to taste

For shrimp:

Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add 1 ounce of the butter and the lime zest, garlic and shrimp; sauté for approximately 1 minute. Take the pan off of the burner, add tequila and return the pan to the burner. Be careful — the tequila should ignite, and the flames can reach 18 inches. Let the tequila burn itself out, then add the lime juice, remaining butter and chopped cilantro.

For grits:

Heat a saucepot to medium heat with 1 ounce of butter. Add the diced jalapeño and sweat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the grits slowly, so they do not clump. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, making sure the grits don't stick to the pan. Once the grits are cooked all the way through, add the smoked cheddar and roasted corn. Finish the grits with the remainder of butter. Season the grits to taste with salt and pepper.


This recipe came to the Cheyenne Mountain Resort courtesy of our former executive sous chef Brother Luck, who recently took off to work at another Benchmark Hospitality venture in Chicago. His mother is from Louisiana, and traditional Southern food was a staple at their dinner table. One of Brother's favorites was shrimp and grits because he has fond memories of standing around the table, cleaning shrimp and simmering grits with his family. He added his own flair to the dish, giving it a Southwestern interpretation by adding ingredients like tequila, cilantro, lime and jalapeño. Feel free to increase the heat of the grits by adding more jalapeños — if you can handle it, he'd say.

— Submitted by executive chef Bill Poulin

click to enlarge Tula Crêpe

Coquette Creperie
915 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2420, coquettecreperie.com

Tula Crêpe

Crêpe batter:

4 whole eggs

1 c. of 1 percent milk

2 c. flour

Crêpe filling:

1 lb. raw chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes

6 oz. zucchini, cut into half-moons

4 oz. Kalamata olives roughly chopped

4 oz. roasted red peppers, diced small

4 oz. tomato, diced small

4 oz. cucumber, diced small

6 oz. fresh spinach leaves

4 oz. tzatziki (recipe below)

12 oz. feta cheese


salt to taste

white pepper to taste

1 oz. oregano

1 oz. garlic powder

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil


3-4 oz. Greek yogurt

4 cloves minced garlic

1 cucumber (seeded, then grated)

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. olive oil

minced mint

1 tbsp. cumin

salt to taste

cracked pepper to taste

For crêpe:

Whip eggs and milk and add flour slowly, constantly whisking, then strain. With a 4-ounce ladle, pour batter onto a medium-sized nonstick pan at medium-high heat. Lift pan and gently swirl so batter coats the bottom of pan and does not gather too heavily in one spot. Let cook for about 1 minute or until the crêpe starts to curl around the edges.

When the crêpe is not sticking to the pan, it's time to flip. Let cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove to a holding dish. At this time, you can either place ingredients in the center of the crêpe and roll, or remove and place on a plate with wax paper in between crêpes so they don't stick together. You may also opt to refrigerate crêpes in order to stuff at a later time — in this case you can use plastic wrap to cover crêpes. They will last up to two days if wrapped well.

For filling and seasoning:

Sauté chicken in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. When chicken is of the way cooked, add zucchini, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, tomato and cucumber. Sauté until cooked and finish with seasoning, spinach, tzatziki and feta. Remove all ingredients from heat, toss and fill your crêpe.

For tzatziki:

Gently blend ingredients by hand and chill. Then place on top of Tula Crêpe and in a serving dish for extra topping. Serves 4.


We created the Tula as an homage to our Greek ancestry. When we built our favorite flavors into crêpes, how could we not do a Greek? When we smell it cooking, we revert to Sunday meals the family all ate together in a tiny New York City apartment, all highly animated vocals and hand-motions as we discussed everything from heavy politics to "Why are you wearing that dress?" Comfort food is often about family, and its vitality, combined with great-tasting food and drink, is what a restaurant is all about to us.

— Submitted by owners Turu and Michelle Marx

click to enlarge Deviled Chicken

The Curry Leaf
26 S. Wahsatch Ave., 447-0608, curryleafrestaurant.com

Deviled Chicken

1 lb. chicken breast

1½ tsp. garlic, minced

1½ tsp. ginger, minced

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. paprika

½ tsp. Asian-style chili powder

1 tsp. chili flakes

½ tsp. blend of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves (equal parts)

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. vegetable oil (divided)

3/4 c. water

½ red bell pepper, sliced thinly

½ green bell pepper, sliced thinly

½ yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly

1 medium onion

salt to taste

Marinate chicken in all the spices, including Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic and ginger, and put in bowl; let marinate for an hour. Then heat a wok with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and add the marinated chicken and stir for a few minutes. Add the water. Let the liquid thicken, then add the rest of the vegetable oil and cook for a few minutes. Finally, add the peppers and onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve over rice.


This meal is great to serve to a group of people. It is also very budget-friendly, and I like to use all local ingredients if possible. You may even add mushrooms if you like. I really enjoy making this dish for my friends and family. For us, the spice is the element of comfort.

— Submitted by owner Lana Joseph-Hillstrom

click to enlarge Smoked Duck Cassoulet
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Maxi’s Restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel - World Arena: Smoked Duck Cassoulet

Maxi's Restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel - World Arena
1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-8900, coloradospringsworldarena.doubletree.com

Smoked Duck Cassoulet

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 c. bread crumbs

1 tbsp. parsley, minced

4 oz. pancetta, medium dice

1 lb. smoked duck, pulled

4 oz. white beans

4 oz. pearl onions, cut in fourths

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

4 oz. baby carrots, cut ½-inch long

1 green apple, medium dice

1 c. Alsace Riesling

½ c. veal stock

1 tsp. sage, fresh, minced

1 tsp. thyme, fresh, minced

2 oz. fennel, fresh, cut ½-inch long

salt and pepper to taste

Mix melted butter, bread crumbs and parsley, and set aside. Render the fat out of the pancetta and sauté with duck, white beans, onions, garlic, baby carrot and apple pieces. Deglaze with Riesling. Add veal stock and herbs, then pour into mini Dutch ovens. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Serves 4.


I absolutely love cassoulet. It's a dish you can prepare mostly in advance, then bake and serve, which works out great when you just get back from snowboarding or hiking. Cassoulet is also very easy to change up — you can add sausage, chicken, pork shoulder, boar, etc. I have even made it with lobster and scallops. It truly is a versatile dish, whose heartiness makes it an obvious choice for comfort food.

— Submitted by chef Jason Gust

click to enlarge Shrimp and Scallop Yaki Udon

22 S. Tejon St., Suite A, 630-1167, fujiyamasushi.com

Shrimp and Scallop Yaki Udon

3 c. water

1 pkg. udon noodles (we use 44-oz. size found in Asian markets)

1 c. jumbo black tiger shrimp

2 tsp. olive oil

1 bunch broccoli

½ yellow onion

¹/³ c. carrots

½ c. fresh scallops

1 tsp. butter

2 tsp. soy sauce

¹/³ c. feta cheese

3 cherry tomatoes (for garnish)

2 sprigs parsley (for garnish)

In a pan, add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add udon noodles.

Starting at the tail end, butterfly each shrimp, cutting to, but not through, the outside of shrimp. Set aside.

Heat a wok or any large frying pan to high and add olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and add broccoli, onions and carrots, and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Next, add the shrimp and scallops, cooking about 5 minutes or until fully cooked, then add butter.

Lastly, drain the udon noodles and add to the mixture. Add soy sauce and toss together until fully submerged with the ingredients.

Serve on a large, flat plate. Crumble the feta cheese on top and garnish with the cherry tomatoes and parsley. Serves 1 to 2.


This comfort food recipe is a very simple, creative meal I designed, inspired by a passion for Japanese cuisine and a love of Italian cuisine. Enjoy anytime. The flavors of the shrimp, scallops and udon, with a kick of feta cheese and a sip of your favorite white wine, do wonders on your palate.

— Submitted by owner Minji Suh

click to enlarge Coffee Rub and Sweet Corn Whiskey Barbecue Sauce
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Grizzly Grill: Coffee Rub and Sweet Corn Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Grizzly Grill
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, 314-0970, cmzoo.org

Coffee Rub and Sweet Corn Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Coffee Rub:

c. ground coffee

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tbsp. coarse ground black pepper

2 tbsp. chili powder

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. granulated garlic

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. cumin, toasted and ground

1 tbsp. ground coriander

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. brown sugar

Kosher salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well, ensuring that there are no lumps of brown sugar left. Mix with kosher salt to taste (four parts spice to one part salt).

Use this spice rub on your favorite chunk o' beast (Boston butt or whole brisket) and smoke for about 45 minutes to one hour per pound. I suggest pecan or hickory wood chips for this rub/sauce dynamic duo.

Barbecue Sauce:

2 tbsp. canola oil

1½ c. white onion, medium dice

5 cloves garlic, minced

c. red bell pepper, medium dice

3½ c. sweet corn (divided)

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp. black pepper (divided)

tbsp. red pepper flakes (divided)

1 c. red wine vinegar

1 c. honey mustard (homemade, if possible)

3 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. molasses

3 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 tbsp. honey

c. whiskey (divided)

Salt to taste

In a medium-high-heated pan, add the canola oil. Then combine onions, garlic, bell pepper, 1½ cups of corn, bay leaves, half the black pepper, half the red pepper flakes, and one teaspoon of salt. Cook all ingredients until onions are translucent. Then add the vinegar, honey mustard, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust heat to low to allow to incorporate, continuing to stir because of thickness.

While that is steeping: In a separate pan, combine butter, honey, 1 cup of corn, a splash of the whiskey (about half an ounce) and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Place on low heat to start to incorporate. (Do not let reduce, only allow to steep.)

After 8 minutes of incorporation, pull both pans off the heat, combine and purée with a hand-held immersion blender until equable. Pass puréed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, ensuring to extract all the "juice" from chunks in the china cap. Save strained liquid and discard the chunks. Add remaining whiskey to smooth the sauce and set aside.

In a third pan, cook the rest of the corn in rocket-hot pan with no oil. Dry sauté until color of caramelization starts to appear, then add reserved smooth liquid to hot pan, stirring enthusiastically for 2 minutes. Purée a second time, pass through a fine-mesh strainer once again (to renew freshness, lighten the ending product and temper the "raw alcohol" flavor) then adjust seasoning.

Use sauce how you see fit.


Manny and I were teaching some clients who were getting married how to make their own barbecue sauce recently, and it made me re-think the whole concept of comfort food. This couple met at a backyard barbecue and wanted to theme their reception around barbecue. As we were all making this assortment of different sauces, it occurred to me just how awesome a simple backyard cookout can be, and how it brings friends and family together. It has been one of my favorite things to do in the whole world since I was a kid.

— Submitted by chefs Beau Green and Manny Medina

click to enlarge Duck Confit

Le Bistro
1015 W. Colorado Ave., 634-0400, lebistrocs.com

Duck Confit

3 tsp. Kosher salt (divided)

4 cloves garlic (smashed)

1 shallot (peeled and sliced)

6 sprigs thyme

4 duck legs with thighs

4 duck wings, trimmed

coarsely ground black pepper

4 c. duck fat

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the duck pieces in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots and thyme in the container. Arrange the duck, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush salt and seasoning off the duck. Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Put the melted fat over the duck; all pieces should be covered by fat. Place the confit in the oven.

Cook it slowly at a very slow simmer, until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone (about 2 to 3 hours). Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)


For me, duck confit says comfort food. This dish can be served with lentils, salad, roast potatoes, beans, etc. Be sure not to forget the wine — a Côtes du Rhône Rouge is a perfect combination. I love this dish for several reasons: Among them, it's a very easy and old-fashioned style of cooking. Even if you do not have any refrigeration, you can still store your duck, because the fat layer preserves it. And of course, the duck melts like butter in your mouth.

— Submitted by chef/owner Henri Chaperont

See Recipes Part II here!

  • Smoked duck cassoulet, chocolate orange Mayan cookie sandwich, tula crêpe and more.


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