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Add cranberries, sugar, jalapeno, candied ginger and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until cranberries soften (about 5 minutes). Serve as is or for smoother consistency, purée in food processor.
Score the fat of the duck breast in a criss-cross pattern with a knife. Season duck on each side with salt & pepper. Add canola oil to sauté pan over medium-low heat. When oil starts to sizzle, add duck breast to pan skin side down and cook for 12 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 4 minutes. Remove duck from pan and let rest 5 minutes then slice into ¼ inch slices.
Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Red Wine-Raspberry Sauce
In a baking dish, mash 1/2 cup of the raspberries. Stir in the minced shallot, 1/4 cup of the red wine and the olive oil. Add the duck breasts and turn to coat. Turn the breasts skin side up, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Scrape the marinade from the duck breasts into the remaining marinade and reserve. Pat the duck breasts dry, season them with salt and pepper and set them in a large skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the skin is well browned, about 6 minutes. Turn the duck breasts and cook until medium-rare, about 3 minutes longer transfer to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Discard the fat from the skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine and boil until reduced by half. Add the reserved marinade and the water and simmer over moderate heat until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan and whisk in the honey and butter. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Thickly slice the duck breasts crosswise on the diagonal and transfer to plates. Spoon the red wine sauce around the duck, scatter the remaining 1 cup of raspberries on top and serve.
Recipe: Pan-seared Duck Breast with an Orange-Cranberry Gastrique
If you are actually reading this, I must say…I’M IMPRESSED! Most people, myself included, would typically shy away from such a seemingly intimidating and French-bent recipe.
Growing up, the most exotic protein that we ate at home was turkey. On Thanksgiving, nonetheless. Hell, it wasn’t until I was out of college that I sampled my first pork chop (Sorry Grandma!), or tasted rack-of-lamb paired with that freaky green-colored mint jelly. So you can imagine how long it took for me to experiment with anything that wasn’t beef or chicken in my own kitchen!
While I love duck confit as much as the next guy, it’s not the simplest recipe to whip up after a long day (…of working from home). However, the opposite can be said for a duck breast, especially one of high quality (I source mine from Maple Leaf Farms): Besides salt and freshly-ground black pepper, all you need is an oven-safe skillet and you’re well on your way to creating an easy, healthy, and outrageously delicious entree. While you could certainly stop there, I recommend pairing this delightful morsel of poultry with a homemade gastrique, which is a French sweet and sour sauce made with vinegar, wine, and your favorite in-season fruit(s)!
Got 30-minutes? Great! If you’re ready to impress the hell out of someone (even if that ‘someone’ is yourself) and don’t have much time on your hands, this fancy’ish recipe is for you! Treat yo’self!
Seared Duck Breast with Cranberry Sauce & Port Reduction
I have to admit that duck hasn’t always been high on my list of things to eat. I roasted a duck nearly 24 years ago and although the results were fine, I never cooked one again. It was only when I moved to Hong Kong 11 years ago with my family that I really embraced this domestic fowl. Peking Duck is a specialty in Hong Kong and the meat is very moist, tangy sweet, succulant while the dark brown skin is crispy. Since then I’ve had my share of duck meals. I think, too, that media has also played its part in celebrating the rebirth of duck and that it can be included in a healthy diet. If you like this recipe, then you might also enjoy Duck Salad with Aged Cheddar Dressing.
3 large duck breasts, halved
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Ruby port
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
With a sharp knife score the fatty side of the duck breasts making a criss-cross pattern. Be sure not to pierce the flesh of the duck. Place a large non-stick frying pan over low heat. Season duck breast with salt and pepper. Place fatty side down. Slowly increase heat to medium and cook the breast for approximately 10 minutes. While cooking, constantly drain off fat. Save the duck fat as it can be used in place of olive oil when roasting potatoes or root vegetables. When the fat is completely rendered and the skin is golden brown and crispy, turn the duck breasts over. Turn off the heat and leave it for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
Place pan back over medium heat, add shallots and sauté. Add remaining ingredients, except butter. Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk the sauce as it reduces. When sauce is rich and thick, add butter. Slice the duck breasts and arrange on plates. Spoon the cranberry reduction over the meat and accompany with mashed potatoes.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Gorgeous flavors especially with the cranberry sauce and port reduction and a perfect way to use any leftover canbrerry sauce from Christmas. I served the duck with herbed risotto but you can also serve with wild rice or soft polenta.
By the Glass Wine Tasting Note: If budget isn’t an issue then this dish is best served with a bigger style Burgundian Pinot Noir. If you’ve spent all your money on the duck and the Port, best to avoid bargain basement Pinot as more often than not cheap Pinot is just that. The light cherryish fruit flavours of most inexpensive Pinot Noir will get clobbered with the intense character of the reduction. I’ll place my money on a ripe fruit forward style of Shiraz. If you have $20 go for the Marques de Casa Concha Syrah made by Concha Y Toro but their Casillero del Diablo version is almost as pleasurable.
For the Warm Cranberry And Apple Chutney: Heat the oil in a non-aluminum saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic cook 1 minute. Add the apples, cranberries, sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, ginger, salt, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. (This can be kept 10 days refrigerated or frozen up to 1 month. To serve warm, gently reheat, adding water if the mixture is too thick. The chutney can also be served chilled or at room temperature.) Makes 3 cups. (This chutney yields more than you'll need for this meal, so serve the rest with pork, ham, lamb or other poultry. It also makes a tasty, low-fat sandwich spread)
Combine the pepper flakes, cinnamon, coriander and salt in a small dish. Sprinkle half the mix on top of the duck breasts, dividing evenly. Gently pat the seasoning in place with your hands.
Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, place the breasts, seasoned-side down, in the skillet. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning over the unseasoned side of the breasts. Cook, uncovered, turning only once, until the underside is browned, about 3 minutes total for rare, about 5 minutes total for medium. (The meat becomes tough when well done.)
Transfer the duck to a warm platter. Cover with foil let rest 5 minutes.
To serve, cut each breast across the grain on a slight angle. Place each on the cooked spaghetti squash, fanning out the slices. Drizzle with any pan juices. Top the duck breasts with about 2 tablespoons of Warm Cranberry Apple Chutney. Serve hot, passing any remaining warm chutney separately.
This recipe yields 4 servings.
Each serving without chutney: 225 calories 373 mg sodium 130 mg cholesterol 14 grams fat 4 grams saturated fat 0 carbohydrates 23 grams protein 0.30 gram fiber.
Each 1/4 cup of chutney: 59 calories 29 mg sodium 0 cholesterol 1 gram fat 0 saturated fat 14 grams carbohydrates 0 protein 1.32 grams fiber.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
- Trim any excess skin off the edges of the breasts, score the skin in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern, and pat the breasts dry. Generously season both sides of each breast with salt and pepper.
- Heat a heavy-duty ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes.
- Put the duck skin side down in the hot skillet (cover with a splatter screen if you have one). Cook until the skin is deeply browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and pour off the fat in the pan. Return the duck to the pan skin side up and roast until medium rare (125°F), 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the pear, bourbon, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, allspice, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the pear is tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until just a little liquid remains, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the cranberries and remove from the heat.
- Slice the duck breasts crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Remove the lemon zest from the relish and stir in the pistachios. Serve the duck with the relish.
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Pan-Seared Duck Breast
"A lot of people tell me that they&rsquore too intimidated to cook duck and only order it at restaurants. This is really too bad, as duck is pretty easy to make, and thanks to a layer of fat, the meat is flavorful and moist. This is a straightforward and simple recipe. It gets a little decadent at the end with foie gras, but you can manage without it just fine. Just don&rsquot skip the demi-glace&mdashit&rsquos the secret ingredient to this dish. These days, many stores carry prepared demi-glace that you just have to loosen up with a little water, so no need to make your own." &mdashMarc Murphy
- 2 duck breasts (about 1 pound each)
- 1/4 cup Armagnac or brandy
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 shallots, minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ruby port
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup store-bought demi-glace
- 2 cups raw, 1/2-inch-dice foie gras (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Score the skin of the duck breast, making sure you do not cut all the way through to the meat. Pat the duck dry with paper towels and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the glaze.
In a small bowl, combine the Armagnac and dried cherries and set aside to soak. In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until simmering. Add the shallots, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red port and wine and raise the heat to high. Cook until it has reduced by half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over low heat. Season the duck with salt and pepper. Place it in the pan, skin-side-down, and cook until the fat has rendered out and the skin is deep brown and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip the duck over so it is skin-side-up and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until medium&ndashrare, 8 to 10 minutes.
While the duck is baking, add the demi-glace to the pan with the reduced wine mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the soaked cherries and any Armagnac left in the bowl, reduce the heat to medium, and cook slowly until the sauce has thickened and the cherries are soft, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in the foie gras, if using, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the duck to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Halve the breasts on an angle, and serve half a breast per plate with the reserved glaze.
Why is duck so fatty? Why is duck meat red?
I’m combining these two questions because the science behind them is the same. Ducks do much more flying and floating than most other poultry like chickens or turkeys.
Because ducks are so much more active and need to fly, their muscles need extra energy to keep going. Which means they have a different sort of muscle in most of their bodies.
- Red meat is made of slow-twitch muscles which store oxygen for constant energy source. The protein myoglobin stores this oxygen and creates the darker pigment.
- White meat is made of fast-twitch muscles which take energy from glycogen, a carbohydrate.
The fat content in their skin helps them float, since ducks spend so much time in the water. This also explains why the fat is located in the skin, as a sort of natural pool floaty, rather than marbled through the meat as we see in beef cuts.
What does duck taste like?
Because duck meat is fatty and red, it tastes more like beef or lamb than chicken or turkey. There is a strong flavor of fat, and if the duck is wild there may be a gamey taste. Occasionally I get a duck that tastes a bit like liver. In a good way!
How do I store fresh duck?
Keep in its original packaging or an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days before cooking.
You can also freeze it for 6 months!
Can I cook duck in advance?
Yes you can. Look below for more specific reheating advice.
Do remember the crisp will never be quite as good as the day you made it fresh. But you can get very close.
How do I know when my duck is cooked?
- Temperature – the USDA recommends cooking poultry to 170°F. But if you like medium-rare or rare meat, like me, cooking it to around 130-140°F keeps it in that range.
- No thermometer? Use the finger method! Place your thumb and pointer finger together and press the flesh at the base of your thumb. That’s rare. Thumb and middle finger? Medium-rare. Thumb and ring finger? Medium-well. Thumb and pinky? Well done.
How do I store cooked duck?
If I have a particularly fat piece of duck I struggle to finish it all in one go.
Simply put what’s left in an air-tight container and place it in the fridge. Be sure to eat it before the week is out!
How do I reheat cooked duck?
Take the duck out of the fridge and let it warm up for 10 minutes. Place it on a oven-safe dish and roast is covered with foil at 350°F for 10 minutes. Then uncover the duck and let it crisp for another 6-8 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of your meat. This is for half a duck breast.
You could put it in the oven for 15 minutes and then crisp the skin on the frying pan if there’s still a little fat left to render.
There is a toaster oven method as well, but I’ve never personally tried it.
Can I use duck fat? How do I store duck fat?
Yes! Absolutely! In fact, if you plan on keeping it, it’s wise to set up a clean empty soup can before you start cooking so you can pour the fat into it as you render.
Just like pork fat or bacon fat or even goose fat, it will chill in the fridge and become solid so you can store it in a jar for 6 months. You can also freeze it for about a year.
Use it just like a pat of butter: fry eggs, grill cheese, roast potatoes, even rub onto other birds. (It doesn’t go very well with sweet foods like sautéed pears or pancakes.)
Pan Seared Duck Breast Recipe
Demi glace is the most important ingredient for making classic "restaurant quality" brown sauces. All the great French brown sauces use demi glace. But it can also be used in soups, stews and braises. It's something you can make at home but it takes a long, long time to do it right and if you make one mistake, it can easily be ruined. Lucky for us, there are now some great sources for commercial grade demi glace and I want to share a few with you now. Everyone has their preferences so I suggest you give each a try to find out which product you like best. Savory Choice's Demi GlaceReady in minutes, Savory Choice beef demi glace allows home chefs to deliver impressive restaurant-quality meals quickly and cost-effectively. Professional chefs typically take at least 24 hours to prepare this traditional reduction sauce by simmering stock, vegetables, wine and spices to a velvety consistency. One of my first commercial demi glace products and still one of my favorites. For almost 25 years, More Than Gourmet has been the gold standard for flavor and quality when it comes to sauces, stock, and soup. This product comes in 1 pound tubs and 1.5 ounce pucks and even bigger sizes if you are a commercial establishment. I like buying 6 of the pucks at a time unless I'm doing a big party and need the pounder.
Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce
Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch). Discard plastic wrap. Using sharp knife, score skin in 3/4-inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh). DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet and cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts and 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.
With the duck, pour a medium-bodied red from Spain's Rioja region. We like the Viña Santurnia 2005 Crianza Rioja ($13), which has black cherry flavors and smoky notes.
How would you rate Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce?
Awesome. I cooked it a bit differently but otherwise made according to the recipe. I used my Weber Kettle grill. Built a fire with a single charcoal holder of briquettes. I heated a cast iron frying pan over the coals with a bit of butter. I did not pound the breasts but rather just scored the skin with a knife . I seared the breasts skin side down in the frying pan for about 3 minutes to get some fat and start the browning process. I took the breasts out of the pan and put on the indirect side of the grill. I used an IGrill to monitor the temperature of each breast. . I roasted them to a temp of 130 and then moved them over the direct heat skin side down to finish crisping up the skin., moving them off the heat anytime a flare up started. After several minutes of juggling the breasts got up to 135 degrees and they no longer flared up. Off the grill they came and I made the sauce per the recipe in pan I used to sear the breasts. Yumm! I did not find this sauce at all too sweet. And I hate overly sweet sauces on meat.I used local honey (in the days of COVID19 , I am not wandering through stores looking for orange blossom honey and one of the few things in the frozen food section was actually frozen dark cherries. ). Birthday dinner for my wife . She loved it.
This was an amazing recipe, everything just worked perfectly. One tip that I did to cut through the sweetness and fat of the sauce and the duck was by adding fig infused balsamic vinegar and some orange zest, it made everything just that much better. Either way, this is definitely a recipe I see myself making again.
This is a superb recipe. I only had ruby Port in the liquor stash so I used that. I still had some fresh cherries in he fridge. Orange blossom honey is findable in the northeast but it’s not common i used regular local honey. I used a single 16 oz duck breast and cooked it the way I have been very successful in the past. (Not pounded thin, seared skin side down and then lower the temp so it barely sizzles, in this case 25 minutes, flip for 2.5 minutes, remove and let rest). Others commented this was too sweet. I hate cloying sweet entrees. This was not . It was perfect balance and I had extra sauce.