Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pan Seared Duck Breast with POM-Thyme Reduction Sauce



I admit, this dish is a bit fancy for a Thursday night dinner. I had some duck breast in my freezer that I needed to use up and I still have a couple of bottles of POM Wonderful in my fridge that I won in a giveaway on Deep South Dish. I found this recipe on the POM Wonderful website. I was excited to try it out and combine 2 excellent products for one fabulously delicious dinner. If you're still looking for a special Valentine's dinner to prepare for your sweetie, you may want to print this one. This dish would be perfect with a nice bottle of red wine and a dessert of lava baby cakes or individual caramel flans with POM syrup.

If you've never tried duck, you're in for a treat. It's such a wonderful protein. You may expect it to be like chicken or turkey, but for me it's nothing like the other birds commonly consumed in this house. Truthfully, the best comparison to another meat that I could make would be filet mignon. It's tender and juicy and meaty...but healthier for you than beef.

Among people who have never tried duck, or those who rarely eat it, there appears to be at least two concerns. One concern seems to be a lack of knowledge of how to properly prepare duck. Actually cooking duck is not too different from cooking other meats and once a few basic principles are mastered, most anyone can become a master duck chef. You can get duck cooking tips HERE or check out my last post about preparing duck for a step by step preparation tutorial. The other concern among the uninitiated appears to be the somewhat higher fat content of duck, which is true of whole duck but not of leg meat or skinless breast. In truth, White Pekin duck breast is comparable in fat and calories to a skinless chicken or turkey breast. Check out this nutritional information chart comparing duck breast to chicken, turkey, and a number of cuts of beef. If you thought that duck was too "fatty" before, this should alleviate any concerns.

I used Maple Leaf Farms duckling for this and all of the duck recipes that I prepare in my kitchen. Maple Leaf Farms is only about 10 miles from where I grew up. Not only have I toured their facilities, I interned with them in both Marketing and Research and Development when I was in college. It's a tip top operation, offering the best possible products. The good news is that you can get Maple Leaf Farms Duckling just about anywhere in the U.S. Look for it in your local grocery store.

Since this recipe features a reduction sauce, I began that first. Because it needs to well...reduce. Begine with 2 cups of POM Wonderful juice and cook it down to 1/4 cup.



Then, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to a large heavy-bottomed pot. Saute over medium heat, caramelizing the vegetables nicely.



Add the red wine and simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to reduce to a syrup.



Allow to reduce to a syrup.




Strain out the vegetables and discard. I pressed mine through a sieve to eek out the last bit of that syrup.



Add 2 quarts of chicken stock to the red wine reduction and reduce down to 2 cups.



Add fresh thyme sprigs and pomegranate juice reduction to finish. At first taste, I wasn't really sure about this sauce, but after I simmered it for a bit and the thyme infused into the flavor, this sauce really added to the dish.



With the sauce well on it's way to complete, I prepare my duck. The recipe instructs to season the duck breast. These duck breasts came pre-seasoned, so I skipped this step. Next, I scored the fat on each breast. Check out my last post about duck for additional details. By scoring a duck breast and then searing it on the scored side, you can eliminate up to 70% of the fat, while crisping the skin and adding to the distinct flavor of the meat.



Add olive oil to a large saute pan, over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the duck breast, skin side down. Sprinkle with crushed rosemary. Sear for 7-9 over medium heat. Flip the duck breast over and cook for an additional 3 minutes for medium rare. Go a couple of minutes longer for medium. You really don't want to go much past medium, in my opinion. Remove the duck from the pan and allow it to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing.




While the duck rests, drain most of the fat from the skillet and then toss in a whole, diced shallot. The recipe recommended to "sweat" the shallot, rather than brown it. Mine browned. I'd like to know, what's so wrong with that? It was delicious!



Slice the meat diagonally before transferring to your serving plate. See?! It's like steak, only leaner! Note: I removed the skin before slicing.



To prepare each plate, I put down a bed of the sauteed shallots.



Then I ladled the POM-Thyme reduction sauce over the shallots and topped with sliced duck. It was perfection!



I served mine with garlic-cheddar smashed potatoes and some vegetables. (Confession time: they were Green Giant mixed veggies in rosemary butter).





Pan Seared Duck Breast with POM-Thyme Reduction Sauce from the POM Wonderful website. Written by Chef Erick Williams mk, the restaurant, Chicago
(adapted by me)

Time to Table: 35 Minutes Prep: 1 Hour 35 Minutes Cooking
Makes: 4 Servings.

POM Thyme Reduction Sauce

juice from 4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 2 cups POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate Juice
4 oz. Spanish onion
2 oz. carrot
2 oz. celery
1 clove garlic
2 cups red wine
2 quarts chicken stock
5 sprigs fresh thyme

Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Seasonal Vegetables

4 duck breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 small shallot, minced
3 cups seasonal vegetables
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

POM Thyme Reduction Sauce: Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, in a small pot, reduce the pomegranate juice to 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz.) or until it coats the back of a spoon easily, then remove from heat, rough chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, saute in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, caramelizing the vegetables nicely, add red wine and simmer over medium-low heat, allow to reduce to a syrup. Strain out the vegetables and discard, add 2 quarts of chicken stock to the red wine reduction and reduce down to 2 cups, add fresh thyme sprigs and pomegranate juice reduction to finish.

Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Seasonal Vegetables: Season the entire duck breast, add the olive oil to a large saute pan, over medium heat, when the oil is hot, add the duck breast, skin side down. Sprinkle with rosemary. Sear for 7 to 9 minutes over medium heat. Flip the duck breast over and cook for an additional 3 minutes for medium rare, remove the duck from the pan and allow it to rest 2 to 3 minutes before slicing. Drain all but 1 teaspoon of the duck fat from the skillet. Add minced shallots to pan and saute the shallots, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the seasonal vegetables and saute until warmed thoroughly. (I skipped this step and prepared my veggies separately) Slice each duck breast, diagonally, into 1/2" pieces, serve the duck with the vegetables and the pomegranate thyme reduction.

Nutrients per Serving
Nutrients per Serving (1 duck breast): 119 calories (2 g fat), 28g protein, 15g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 111mg cholesterol, 8g total sugars, 18mcg vitamin A RE, 670mg sodium, 399mg potassium, 28mg vitamin C.

To download or print this recipe click here!

3 comments:

A Year on the Grill said...

THIS IS PERFECT. A wonderful restaurant quality duck dish. Always hard to avoid a dried out duck. All teh extras will make this just right... Saving this

Katy ~ said...

If YOU made this for me, I'd try it.

Kim said...

Your plating on this is beautiful! I made a pom reduction sauce awhile ago and I loved it. I have some duck in my freezer and I've never cooked it before. Your post helped to give me the courage I need to dig it out and get started.

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