The Duck is Daffy

PUBLISHED ON: 05.17.2009

Let me say up-front I was no fan of duck. No reason, maybe, duck was not part of my food experience. Perhaps, I was too easily accepting the opinions of others in which duck was not part of their food experience either-too greasy, too difficult to prepare.  Duck has an unwarranted bad reputation. A few good restaurants later, a willingness for a new food experience, I order the duck. To my surprise, I found the duck very moist, very rich and prepared correctly can provide a heavenly experience. The key phrase is “prepared correctly” So, that is our task this weekend, to prepare duck correctly.

(2 servings)
2-6 oz. duck breast halves or one 12 to 16 ounce duck breast half
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled butter, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 Tablespoons tawny port
1 Tablespoon orange blossom honey

Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. 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 the 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  (or in our case slightly charred,laugh) 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
WHAT TO DRINK: With duck, pour a medium bodied red from Spain. We chose Panarroz Jumilla 2006

Recipe from: Bon Appetit, June 2009

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