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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Roast Duck Breast with Currant-Balsamic Sauce

After watching a cooking show that featured duck breast (kicking myself for not remember which one), I decided to cook up my own duck breast, for the very first time, for Christmas dinner. I didn’t follow the recipe for the show, but memorized the basic steps for the duck breast preparation and got some great sauce advice from my twitter friends (@ChefBevLazo and @burdladii). Keeping their advice in mind, I came up with the following duck breast recipe – which blew the minds of my dinner guests (and that was the best Christmas present ever!).

I served the duck breast over mushroom wild rice and kale greens infused with a blood orange olive oil. This is a super-simple recipe, but tastes incredibly “gourmet”.

Ingredients for Roast Duck Breast with Currant-Balsamic Sauce:
- 6 duck breasts
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ cup Dried currants
- 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs. Salted butter
- 1 Tbs. sugar (or less if you’re not as crazy a sweet/savory fanatic as I am)

- A large Oven-friendly pan
- A small to medium-sized sauce pan

Roast Duck Breast Preparation:
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Take a very sharp knife and hash-cut the skin of the duck breasts – avoid cutting into the meat of the duck. Crisscross slicing the skin (down to the meat – about ½ an inch) will help render the fat.
- Salt and pepper both sides of the duck breasts.
- Set the stove top setting to medium low and pre-heat the oven-friendly pan. Drizzle the olive oil in the pan (make sure to swish around for a light coating). You can test when the pan is ready by adding a single drop of water. If it sizzles, you’re ready to add the duck breasts.
- Place the duck breasts in the pan, skin-side down, and let it cook for about 25 minutes or until most of the fat is rendered and the skins are golden-brown.
- Remove the pan w/duck breasts from the stove-top and put it in the oven. Roast the duck breasts for approx. 6 minutes for the perfect medium-rare results. *** Save the fat from the duck breasts (pour into a heat-safe dish). Duck fat is an AMAZING ingredient to use for other dishes, like stove-cooked potatoes or hash browns (I’ll include a recipe for very, very soon).
- After roasting the duck breasts for 6 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and immediately move the duck breasts to a plate, so that they can rest.

Currant-Balsamic Sauce Preparation:
- Pre-heat your sauce pan to medium
- While you’re slow-cooking/searing the duck breast skins, take your sauce pan and add the balsamic vinegar and currants.
- Bring the balsamic vinegar to a light simmer (not boiling) and let it simmer until the liquid is reduced to half (about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the butter and sugar and continue to simmer your sauce until the liquid lightly covers your stirring spoon (make sure it’s not “watery”).
- Remove the sauce from the heat.

Final preparation:
- This part is totally up to you, but I would personally recommend serving your roast duck breast over a bed of wild rice or risotto – or kale/spinach.
- You can slice your duck breast into pieces, as you see if the photo, or serve them whole. Place each duck breast on a plate and drizzle the current-balsamic sauce over the duck.

Voila! Your dish is done.


For a more carb-friendly meal, you can serve the roast duck breasts over the kale/spinach and sub the rice with a side of butternut squash (a fantastic carb-friendly-sub for potato that makes you feel like you’re inhaling carbs, without the punishment).

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