Man who waits for roast duck to fly into
his mouth must wait very, very long time.
I’m not sure where old Jules ate his duck, or how exactly it was prepared, but I can assure you that duck flies off the plate at our home ever since I learned Dorie Greenspan’s 20-minute duck breast technique.
If you have already read my blog “Weeknight Elegance—Duck Breasts with Fresh Fig Sauce,” you can skip the third paragraph for I am going to briefly describe the technique for cooking duck breasts that I so treasure. Without this technique, duck breasts would be relegated to weekends or competent restaurants. What hard-working proletarian, parent, or reprobate wants to engage in elaborate meal preparation after a long day at the salt mines, home day care, or the racetrack? I don’t, and that is why during this election period I so strongly endorse Dorie’s technique, which is non-partisan and can be made by Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike.
The technique is simplicity itself. First, pat the duck breasts dry, cross-hatch the skin (making sure not to pierce the meat), and season with salt and pepper. Next, place the duck breasts skin side down in a Dutch oven that has been heated on the stove over medium-high heat. The high sides of the Dutch oven help reduce the splattering of duck fat. After 8 minutes, flip the duck breasts over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes (3 for rare and 5 maximum for medium). Remove them from the Dutch oven, place on a baking sheet, and cover loosely with foil. Then place the baking sheet in a 250 degrees preheated oven for 5 minutes to keep the duck breasts warm while you make the sauce. The duck breasts are added to the sauce for final preparation and plating.
What is sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the duck or other fowl. But the sauces that pair well with duck are nearly limitless, can be very seasonal, and are simple to make. The three ingredients I always include in the sauce are balsamic vinegar, honey, and a seasonal fruit (and its juice). For this recipe, I used pomegranate as it is readily available and adds a festive seasonal flavor. But let your imagination, locale, and cultural preferences be your guide. You won’t be disappointed as duck breasts are the platform for many great dishes.
Make sure to check out all the great #WeekdaySupper recipes:
Monday – Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Tuesday – Bacon and Potato Hash by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Wednesday – Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry by Cooking Chat
Thursday – Tuna Rice Bowl by kimchi MOM
Friday – Gluten Free Chicken and Rice Soup by Gluten Free Crumbley
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- 4 duck breasts
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Using the point of a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a cross hatch pattern, cutting deeply into the layer of fat without cutting the meat. Season both sides of the duck breasts with salt and pepper.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When a few drops of water sprinkled into the pot dance and evaporate quickly, put the breasts in the Dutch oven skin side down. (you want to have a little distance from Dutch oven to avoid splatters) Cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn the pieces over and cook for 3 more minutes for very rare breasts.
- Lift the breasts out of the pot and onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Seal the breasts loosely in the foil and put in the oven on a baking sheet for 5 minutes to rest and finish cooking.
- Pour off all but a scant tablespoon of the rendered duck fat from the Dutch oven and put the pot back on the burner over medium heat. Toss balsamic vinegar, honey and pomegranate juice. Stir to mi, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Add pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
- Open foil packet and pour any juice from duck into the sauce. Whisk to incorporate the juices. Place duck breasts back into the sauce, turning to coat thoroughly. Leave in sauce 30-60 seconds to warm and fully coat.
- Serve duck breasts sliced and topped with sauce and pomegranate seeds.