Seared Duck Breast with Plums and Port

this is what i made for dinner last night. it was the first time i've ever cooked duck and i think it was the first time i've ever eaten duck. it was really really good and fairly easy to make. i served it with some roasted potatoes and a green salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette. here's the recipe...

...recipe from Bistro Cooking at Home by gordon hamersley
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 cups port
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
pinch coarsely ground pepper
4 boneless duck breast halves
1 tablespoon butter
2 ripe plums, pits removed, cut into quarters
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups veal stock or chicken broth
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Combine the soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the port, the shallot, ginger, red pepper flakes, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl and stir.

Trim any extra fat from the edges of the duck breast. Score the skin by making diagonal cuts just through the skin at 1/8-inch intervals. Put the duck breasts skin side up in a pan and pour the marinade over them. Marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour, turning them a couple of times.

For the plums and sauce
Heat the butter in a small saute pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the plums and season them with salt and pepper. Cook the plums, tossing occationally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the plums and most of the butter to a plate. Add the remaining 1 cup port and the veal stock to the pan that the plums were cooked in. Remove the duck from the marinade and add the marinade into the pan as well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced by about half. Add the browned plums to the sauce and continue to cook until the plums are tender. (The time it takes for all of this to happen is about the same time as it takes for the duck to cook.)

For the duck
Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Heat enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the duck, skin side down. As the meat cooks the fat will render. Pour this fat off and continue to pour off the fat as the duck cooks while keeping the duck breasts in place. (I just used a paper towel to soak up the fat every few minutes.) Adjust the heat if you smell burning. The skin will be blackened from the sugar in the port and the soy sauce, but you should not smell burning.

Turn the over when almost all of the fat has melted away and the skin is dark and crsipy, about 12 minutes. Cook an additional 2-4 minutes on the other side. Take the pan off the heat and let the duck rest in the pan for at least 5 minutes before slicing it.

To serve
Put the duck breast on a cutting board skin side up. Pour any juices (but not the fat) from the saute pan into the pan with the plums. Slice the breasts across the grain into thin pieces, about 6 per breast. Place the duck slices neatly on each plate. Spoon some sauce and plums onto each plate.


Anonymous sue passerelli said...

As usual, the picture looks fabulous, the meal looks delicious. Somehow, though, looking at your pictures isn't the same as getting to actually taste the fruits of your labor. Sure do miss you all!

Tonight I'm trying your Ritz cracker chicken for small group. I'm sure it will be a hit.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous kelley said...

glad i'll get to be a taster for that ritz cracker chicken creation!

somer, that dish looks beatiful. :) (and yummy too, that's just a bonus :p)

3:37 PM  
Anonymous kelley said...

whoops - beaUtiful. 'tis what i meant!

3:37 PM  
Blogger chaps said...

duck is my FAVORITE! In fact, it makes me want to go out and have some tonight!!! Looks delish!!!!!

3:11 PM  
Blogger Dan Passerelli said...

Yeah, this was probably the best meal we've had so far here in London...not that the others have been bad, this was just incredible. It could stand up to any restaurant meal I've had, and is probably better than most. Pairs really nicely with the Tesco California Red wine.

8:39 PM  
Blogger chaps said...

Somer, we went out that night for dinner and Josh got duck and I got lamb. Of course I had a good bit of his. Thanks for the inspiration! :)
p.s. we both agreed you would love the restaurant - it is called Zake's. Everything is wonderful. Next time you are in Philly we are taking you there so DO CALL and hold us to it! :)

9:55 AM  

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