When my boyfriend and I go out to dinner and there is anything duck-related on the menu, I know we’re going to have to order it. It’s probably one of his favorite foods on the planet and I’m pretty sure it mostly has to do with the crispy skin factor that usually comes with it.
I had some duck breasts that I’d saved from my adventures in duck confit this past weekend, so I decided that tonight would be a great time to use it since we would be having people over for dinner like we do pretty much once a week at our place. Plus my brother is back from one of the two trips abroad that he will be making this summer (lucky duck [haha]), so that’s cause enough for celebration for me.
Duck breasts may sound daunting, but honestly I think they’re way easier to cook than chicken breasts. They’re fowl and not poultry so there’s no chance you’re going to get sick if it’s medium rare (which it really should be for the tastiest results) and I don’t have to follow what my boyfriend calls “Salmonella Protocol” in our kitchen. Cooking chicken honestly just worries me because if it’s a little under you have the potential to make your beloved guests pretty sick. With duck, all worries are eliminated! All you have to do is make sure you get a nice sear on the skin so that it becomes crispy and delicious and voila! Fancy dinner in a matter of minutes.
- 4 duck breasts
- 3 medium yellow beets
- 1 bunch radishes
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- 1/2 cup port wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
large saute pan, saucepan, baking sheet, meat thermometer (preferably digital)
Preheat oven to 425*F. Place duck breasts skin side up a plate and pat dry. Use a sharp knife to score the skin in a diamond pattern, cutting just through the skin layer and not all the way through the fat. Season with salt, pepper, and five spice powder and rub into skin.
Peel beets and remove greens + roots. Clean radishes, removing any leftover stems. Slice radishes thinly widthwise. Pit cherries and coarsely chop.
Wrap beets in aluminum foil and roast in oven for about 40 minutes. Heat olive oil in your saute pan on medium high heat and saute radish slices for 15 minutes until soft and golden. Season with salt + pepper. Place on a dish and cover to keep warm until you’re ready to plate.
Heat cherries in saucepan until they start to bubble and break down. Add sugar and port and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and the alcohol from the port cooks off. Add chicken stock and lower heat to medium. Add a pinch of salt and reduce by half so that the sauce is thick and syrupy – about 10 more minutes.
Wipe out the saute pan you used to cook your radishes and heat it over high heat. Once it’s piping hot, carefully place duck breasts in skin side down, leaving as much space as you can between them. Depending on the size of your pan you may have to work in batches. Lower heat to medium as soon as the fat starts to render out of the skin so that you don’t have an oil explosion on your stovetop. Sear until skin is a deep golden brown then place skin side up on your baking sheet. Place in oven for about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your breast and cook until internal temp reaches 130*F for medium rare and 140*F for medium. Let duck rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Remove roasted beets from the oven and thinly slice widthwise.
Arrange beet and radishes slices on on each plate. Slice duck breasts skin side up at an angle with a sharp knife. Scoop a large spoonful of port sauce onto the veggies and place a sliced duck breast on each plate, splaying out the pieces slightly. Bon Appetit!