I made this recipe last night and it was AMAZING!
Although delicious tasting, duck breasts can be fatty unless the skin is browned thoroughly and rendered of most of its fat. Skillet roasting the breasts skin-side down makes that happen. Scoring the skin first facilitates the draining of fat while the meat cooks.
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated (or minced) fresh ginger
- 2 large red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 boneless duck breast halves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, lightly crushed with mortar and pestle)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil, 1/2 t garlic and ginger in medium nonstick skillet (I used a regular stainless steel skillet) over medium-low heat 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add bell peppers; cook 10 minutes (I had to cook longer) or until peppers are soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Reduce heat to low; cook 15-20 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated but mixture isn’t dry. Cool. (Jam can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and regfrigerate. Serve at room temperature.)
2. Score skin of duck breasts every 1/2 inch (do not cut into meat); rotate and score again, creating a crisscross pattern. In a small bowl, stir together all remaining duck ingredients. Rub mixture ove both sides of duck, pushing mixture into cuts to season duck.
3. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat large non-stick skillet (again, I used a stainless steal skillet), oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add duck, skin-side down. Cook 6 to 8 minutes (I cooked longer in order to achieve brown and rendered) or until skin is browned and fat is rendered, removing fat as it accumulates. Turn duck; place skillet in oven. Bake 4 to 5 (again, had to cook longer. I cooked about 7 minutes I think), for medium-rare or until of desiered doneness. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.
4. Carve each breast across the grain into 4 or 5 slices; serve with the jam.
I didn’t carve the breasts before serving but didn’t really feel like that detracted anything from their yumminess. The Red Pepper Jam was okay but I didn’t really feel like the duck needed any relish. The duck was so amazing and wonderful. I had not noticed the price of the duck when I bought it. It was only as I was taking it out of the package that I noticed they were a little over $8 for two breasts. I told Israel as we sat down to eat that he’d better like it as it was a four dollar piece of meat (we don’t buy steak that costs that much!). He was skeptical until he took a bite. His eyes rolled back in his head and he moaned.
Around a mouthful of pan roasted duck he said, “Oh, Becky. This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted!” And that with a pile of homemade cheddar garlic mashed potatoes sitting on his plate (and if you know Israel and his love of mashed potatoes you know this is a big deal!). And it really was that amazing. I wish I had the skills or training to describe the amazing taste. It was just complex enough to be interesting without so many competing flavors as to be contradicting or anything. Everything complimented everything perfectly. It was just so incredibly good.
Oh, and Jael calls mashed potatoes “smashed potatoes.” I don’t know why but it makes perfect sense so we let it go. Maybe she’ll start a cultural revolution and in 50 years everyone will call them smashed potatoes!
Oh, and this recipe is from the feb/march 2006 issue of Cooking Pleasures. Which apparently I had a copy of at one point but now all I have is a few pages from it. I don’t know. Anyway, that’s where I got the recipe.