Monday, May 11, 2009

Seared Duck Breast with Wine Jus

This recipe is a simple technique for searing a duck breast and a red wine sauce that gives you a good excuse to pour rendered fat back onto the meat.

Start with a duck breast with the skin still attached. Don't take the skin off!

Score the skin using a sharp paring knife, cutting only deep enough to cut through the skin. You can cut into the fat a little, but try not to cut into the meat.

Heat up a frying pan to medium-heat, using a little bit of cooking spray in the pan - there is no need for butter or olive oil. What happens is the layer of fat beneath the skin will render (melt) and spread across the pan pretty quickly.

Sear the breast skin-side down for 7 or 8 minutes. The fat will be hot and crackling and jumping out of the pan, so use a mesh splatter guard if you have one. If you don't, stand back a good distance, or partially cover the pan. You don't want to completely cover it - that would cook the meat. After all of the fat is in the pan, you can pour off some (or all) of it into a saucepan to use for the jus, on put the saucepan over low heat. Anyway, after, 7 or 8 minutes, flip the breast over.

Sear skin-side up for 4-6 minutes, depending on how how thick the breast is and how rare you like your duck. Yes, duck is one of the only kinds of poultry that you should eat rare - don't try this with chicken! While the duck breast is finishing up, you can make the sauce. Turn the heat up to medium on the saucepan holding the duck fat and add a glass or so of red wine. Use something full-bodied, such as a Shiraz or Cabernet. These are also good wines to drink with this meal!

Burn off the alcohol by turning the heat up to high for a little while, and make sure you stir! Turn the heat back down to medium when that's done (no more alcohol steaming off). Add some sauce flour or corn starch and stir to thicken the sauce. Reduce the sauce over medium heat until all you're left with is approaching a dark syrup.

Plate with roasted beets, steamed broccoli, and brown rice. Enjoy!