I wasn’t going to blog about last night’s dinner but it turned out amazingly good that I thought I should post this even if the pictures were taken with a camera phone.
Sometimes reading twitter feeds can make you hungry and yesterday, I had the sudden urge to dig up the frozen duck breasts in my freezer.
So I popped the duck in the sink and covered with ice water to defrost. When it was ready, I dried it up with some paper towels and then proceeded to score the skin in a crosshatch pattern (about 1/2 inch apart and be careful not to break into the flesh). I seasoned both sides generously with salt and pepper and let it sit for an hour.
In the meantime, I pitted about a pound of cherries and either halved or quartered them depending on how industrious I was. I waited for the “Hungry” Hubby to come home with the port wine and quickly put him to work to mince two shallots.
I heated a skillet over medium heat with about a tablespoon of water. And put the duck breasts skin side down and let the fat render. (These were Moulard ducks, by the way). I cut a slit on the meaty side of the duck because there was a tendency for the ends of the duck breast to pull up when the skin shrinks – this way it will continue to lay flat. When the skin is browned and crisp I flipped the duck over to slightly brown the flesh side and then transferred it to a 350F oven to finish cooking (10-12 minutes I think but check with a thermometer, I measured it at 170F which I thought was overcooked but it turned out pink).
Leave about a tablespoon or two of the rendered duck fat. Right now you’ve got delicious fond on your pan. Add the shallots and cook until transclucent and then add about 1/4 cup of port wine with the pan away from the flame. Stand back and flambe.
It probably wasn’t a good idea to have a towel so close but be sure to have the lid of the skillet handy just in case the flames get out of hand.
When the flames die down, add the cherries, 1/4 cup of water, a pinch of chicken bouillon, salt, pepper and a little sugar.
When it has thickened, turn off the heat and add two tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon at a time until it blends into your sauce.
By now you’ve got one really kick ass sauce to put on top of your duck.
All the amounts are just guidelines since I didn’t know I was going to put this on the blog so I didn’t measure.
When you take the duck breast out of the oven, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting on a diagonal.
Most restaurants cook the duck rare and really red in the middle. I like to have mine a deep pink all throughout. It was tender and juicy and I may have sliced into it too soon, but I get impatient sometimes and it was outstanding with the cherry port wine reduction…a classic combination!
The winner of Deborah Madison’s cookbook is Mark, comment #6
Mark May 30, 2011 at 11:33 am
I like me a tart tarte tartin. : )