From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I did some experimenting with duck breast during the holidays. I found two recipes that have real promise and I want to share the first of them with you tonight. Duck breast is nearly effortless to prepare but it's hard to find a recipe that functions well for everyone who tries it. I think the variable size of duck breasts is the problem. Duck is best served rare or medium-rare, and often recipes omit the size of the breasts that are being used. An 8 ounce breast will be tough and dry if it is cooked as long as those that are larger. While I can purchase large fillets online, I'm not organized enough to place my order in a timely fashion, so I end up using breasts that are locally available. They weigh just 8 ounces and would be overcooked if I followed the instructions below. I don't like to tinker with the recipes of established chefs, so I'm posting Robert Irvin's terrific recipe as it was published. My changes, necessitated by the use smaller breasts, appear in red directly below his. I've learned to use the cooking instructions provided by the supplier of the breasts I use, but I still follow the developer's sauce instructions, and I must say Irvin's sauce is outstanding. It is simple to make and wonderful with duck or pork tenderloin. If you don't care for duck, I hope you will try the sauce with pork. I served the breasts with rosti potatoes and a citrus salad that balanced nicely with the fatty duck. It made for a great company meal that was stressless to make and enjoyed by all. Here is how the duck and berry sauce are made.
Duck Breast with Berry Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Robert Irvin and the Food Network
6 large boneless duck breast fillets, skin on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken or duck stock
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups berries: blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
2 tablespoons butter
1) Season the duck breast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown the duck breast, skin side first, then flip over, reduce heat and cook other side, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the duck breasts to a platter, reserving the juices in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Make criss-cross slices across skin only of duck breast (avoid piercing meat). Heat oven proof pan over medium high heat; place breast, skin side down in pan and sear until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn over and place in oven and cook until medium rare, about 6 to 8 minutes or until thermometer reaches 155 degrees F. Let rest before slicing.
2) To make the sauce, add the balsamic vinegar and red wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock and reduce by half again, then add brown sugar, rosemary and berries and cook for 3 minutes. Strain into a bowl and whisk in the butter to finish. Place the duck breast on each plate and drizzle the sauce around. Yield: 6 servings.
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