Duck breasts with port and cherry sauce.
It is the week end and I was in the mood to try a new recipe, so duck with port and cherries caught my attention and decided to give it a try. As this meal may seem a bit longer to make, it is not, quite the contrary, very easy and very tasty. I must have read at least over 30 different duck recipes but all of them do not tell you the following: always throw away the first fat rendered from the duck. Duck is fat and that is a fact, however by removing the fat during the cooking it allows is to render more fat without cooking in it, and cook faster.
My son gave it “thumbs up”.
Tonight’s May 30, 2010 dinner:
Duck Breasts with Port and Cherry Sauce
Green Beans Sautéed in Butter
Crushed Oven Roasted Potatoes
DUCK BREAST WITH PORT AND CHERRY SAUCE
2 Muscovy or Moulard duck breasts halved (about 2 pound total)
3 shallots, finely minced
1 cup port
2 cups cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons black cherry preserve
¼ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with a few tablespoons water (optional)
Using a sharp knife, score the fat covering each breast in a crosshatch pattern at about ½ inch intervals. Make sure that you go all the way through the fat but without cutting into the flesh. Salt and pepper generously the breasts on both sides. Place, skin down in a heavy skillet and place over gently heat and cook until most of the fat is rendered, and the skin is deeply browned and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the breasts on the other side and raise the heat to medium high and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the breast from the pan and place in another clean pan. Put the new pan with the breast into the oven and turn on the heat at 350ᵒ. Make sure that the duck does not dry or overcook.
Pour of most of the fat from the pan, (original pan that the breast were cooked in and reserve the poured off fat for another use). Add the shallots and stir over medium to low heat until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat and pour in the port to deglaze. Boil until the port is reduced right down and the pan is quite dry. Add the cherries, cherry preserve, and chicken stock. Bring back to a boil and boil until reduced by more than half and the sauce is syrupy. If you prefer the sauce thicker, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for a few minutes longer.
Slice the breast against grain and diagonally. Spoon the cherry sauce over the duck. Serve immediately.
CRUSHED ROASTED POTATOES
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, peeled
¼ vegetable oil
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Preheat oven at 400ᵒ. In a pot, cover the potatoes with water and add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate high heat until barely tender. When done, drain well. Spread the potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with the 1/4 of a cup vegetable oil. Season with salt and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and crisp. Using a fork, lightly crush the potatoes then sprinkle with the parsley. Serve nice and hot.
GREEN BEANS SAUTED WITH BUTTER
1 bag of frozen green beans
2 tablespoons butter
Almond slivers or crushed hazelnuts
Cook the frozen green beans according to the package instruction. Drain well. In a large skillet melt the butter. Add the green beans and cook until all the beans are covered with the butter. Add the almond and sauté for 1 minute more. Serve warm