I’ve been on a duck kick lately and this post features my latest creation. For some reason I think of fall when duck comes to mind and this dish’s mix of sweet and savory flavors makes the perfect autumn dinner. If you’re entertaining, this presentation will impress your guests.
A few months ago, I made a duck and sweet potato gumbo. When I was creating this recipe, I roasted a whole duck. Prior to roasting I trimmed all the excess skin and fat from the duck and rendered the fat that I used to make the roux. At the time I thought the gumbo was a little decadent because of the duck fat.
I’ve since done a little research and it turns out that duck fat isn’t so unhealthy after all. In fact, as animal fat goes, it possesses some healthful qualities. Duck fat is high in monounsaturated fats which can actually improve cardiovascular health. I’m not making the case that you should eat large quantities of this fat, but because of the amazing flavor it adds to food, I’m not going to be afraid of it either.
I recently purchased a bag of duck fat from the local farmers market. I rendered the fat and keep in the freezer so that I can use small amounts whenever I need it. If you’ve never roasted potatoes with duck fat you are really missing out! Just last night, I roasted cubed sweet potatoes with duck fat and they were unbelievably delicious.
In conclusion, I just wanted to mention something that surprises some people that are not familiar with duck. Unlike chicken and turkey, duck can be eaten medium rare. Because of the way ducks are raised and processed they are not as susceptible to the same bacteria that are present on raw chicken and turkey.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup Ruby Port wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup frozen cherries, cut in half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
6 8 ounce duck breasts
Salt and pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute shallots and rosemary for one minute.
2. Add port wine, chicken stock, vinegar, cherries, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Mash cherries with the back of a fork. Increase heat and reduce to approximately 1 1/4 cups. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
3. Transfer sauce to a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. If making the sauce ahead of time, store blended sauce in refrigerator until serving.
4. Immediately prior to serving, transfer sauce back to skillet and heat through. Add butter and whisk until melted and incorporated.
1. Score the skin of the breasts with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern.
2. Place a large iron or non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Place breasts in skillet, skin side down. Cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or fat is rendered.
3. Increase heat to medium high heat and turn breasts meat side down. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Turn skin side down again for 1 to 2 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees for medium rare. If you prefer the breasts be medium, continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 140 to 145 degrees. Cooking time can vary according to thickness of breasts.
4. Let duck rest for five to ten minutes. Slice and serve over a pool of cherry port reduction.