By Chef Amanda DeLaura
Do not be scared by the sight of duck breast. I repeat, do not be scared!! Duck is no harder to cook than any roasted piece of beef. You’re only apprehensive of the idea because Americans don’t normally consume duck, which I don’t quite know why? It’s rather common across the globe. It is prevalent among many cuisines: Italian, Moroccan, Chinese & Thai, to name a few. It’s versatile, delicious, and rich in healthy fats. Go buy yourself a few local breasts and enjoy this recipe with mashed potatoes or whipped butternut squash and parsnips. Bon appétit!
Makes 4 servings
4 duck breasts
10 oz organic frozen wild blueberries (1 bag)
1/2 cup broth
1/4 cup red wine
Juice from 1/2 orange
3 sprigs thyme
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp fig or pomegranate infused balsamic vinegar, optional
1 handful micro greens, optional for garnish
Freshly cracked black pepper, optional for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a rimmed baking sheet inside of it.
- Pat your duck breasts dry and lightly score the fat of each duck breast with about 4 to 6 diagonal slices, 3 running in one direction, and 3 running in the opposite direction (making a criss-cross pattern). Season generously with salt and pepper. Place all 4 duck breast in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan at room temperature (don’t preheat the pan). Place the cast iron over medium heat and slowly allow the fat of the duck breast to render. You want all of the white fat to disappear and become crispy. Once rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes, flip each breast and continue to cook till sealed, about 3 minutes. Remove each breast and place skin-side down onto the preheated pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, till your duck breast is cooked until medium-rare to medium, or as desired. While food safety protocol instructs duck to be cooked to 165ºF, many chefs serve duck anywhere from 135ºF-150ºF. If you overcook duck (even to 165ºF), it will be tough and almost gamey. Unlike chicken, you don’t have to worry about getting sick from undercooked duck. Once the duck reaches 145ºF, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
- As soon as you place the duck in the oven, transfer the duck lard into a jar, reserving about 1 Tbsp in the pan. Save this lard later for just about anything (the next time you roast potatoes, use duck fat instead of butter, you’ll thank me!). Add the blueberries, broth, wine, orange juice and thyme to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the butter and balsamic, discard the stems of thyme and remove from heat. Once the duck breasts have rested, slice into 5 to 6 pieces. Plate each breast, top with a large spoonful of blueberry sauce and garnish with micro greens and fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy.