This was one of those “I want to A) live in France and/or B) live where duck breasts are both easier to find and less expensive” challenges.
When I finally tracked down a duck breast (and yes, the correct Moutard) at the fanciest store in town, I had a little sticker shock. That much, for an easy week-day dinner? But I went ahead, made my purchase. And I’m so glad I did!!
The good news is that there are few other ingredients, and because it is such a simple recipe, I wanted to use some other special ingredients. A wonderful (!) balsamic vinegar from Italy, and an amazing honey from Northern Arizona (pine flower!). There’s a lime in there too.
This is a super-simple recipe. First you heat the oven to 250 degrees. Then blot the duck so there’s no water on it. I salted and peppered it, then gave it a nicely patterened scoring. That’s so that when it’s browned, it shows a beautiful pattern (plus it allows some of the fat to be released).
Then it’s into a pan that’s been heated. Placed skin-side down, it is cooked for about 8 minutes. To be honest, mine really didn’t start to sizzle very quickly, but then got brown quite fast. I probably should have had the heat a bit lower, and then cooked it longer on that side.
The duck breast is then turned over to cook for a bit more on the other side. The scoring really enhances the look. At this stage, it starts smelling great too!
Once it’s cooked a couple/few more minutes, it’s placed on some foil, covered up, and put into the oven for a few minutes. Since the oven’s only set at 250 degrees, it’s really not cooking longer, just kind of resting and finishing up with the heat from the stove.
You reduce that just a bit, and the put the duck back into the sauce to glaze. I turned mine over so that it was well glazed in the pot, making sure that I still ended up with glaze to drizzle over the top!
Time to slice and serve the duck…
While the duck will likely not become my go-to quick meal, I can totally see using the same technique with chicken thighs, or even breasts, pork, or other meats. The quick reduction to pour over was so good I wanted to lick the pan. So, so good!
I didn’t have all of the correct ingredients, so I improvised. About 3/4 lb tiny yukon gold potatoes, about 3/4 c chicken broth (vegetable would be good here) – or it could be a combination with water. A small bay leaf, some garlic powder, a mixed dried French herb blend, a little dried lemon peel… I simmered everything but the potatoes for a couple of minutes, and then added them, covered the whole thing and let them simmer. About the time the potatoes were done, the broth had reduced to a nice sauce. All it needed was a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, and dab of butter. Excellent with the duck (and easy). I’m sure done properly with fresh garlic, herbs and lemon would have been even better, but this pantry version was good too.
Mine could have cooked another minute or two, though I like rare duck. Probably I was impatient with the “bring to room temperature” step. But this was excellent and easy, and a great technique. Delicious!