From now through the Christmas season, you're most likely to find boneless duck breast in the supermarket or butcher shop. The duck breast is the meatiest part of the bird. And unlike a whole duck, which is messy and time-consuming to prepare, the breast is fast-cooking and relatively effortless.
If you're a newcomer to duck, you'll notice that the skin is very thick. Don't remove it; the fat will add flavor and prevent the meat from drying out as it roasts. However, you can render out the excess fat, then roast the breast. Discard the skin before serving the meat, if you like.
Although many traditional duck recipes use a fruit-based sauce, the meat is already sweet enough for my taste. I prefer duck with sharp flavorings.
\o7 In this recipe the duck is marinated in a robust garlic\f7 -\o7 soy sauce\f7 -\o7 vinegar blend, then cooked with the marinade. Pan juices are cooked down for a full-bodied sauce.
ROAST DUCK BREAST WITH WILD RICE AND CURRANT PILAF
2 boneless duck breast halves
1 clove garlic, halved
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
Wild Rice and Currant Pilaf
Rub duck breast all over with garlic and fresh rosemary. Score skin, but do not cut through flesh. Place duck in heavy-bottomed skillet, skin-side down, and cook over medium heat to render fat, about 5 minutes.
Combine vinegars, wine, soy sauce, garlic and dried rosemary in shallow oven-proof glass or non-reactive metal roasting pan. Add duck. Set aside 30 minutes to marinate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Prepare Wild Rice and Currant Pilaf.
Place pan with duck and marinade in oven and bake at 400 degrees (425 degrees, if pan is metal) until duck breast is browned on outside and rare inside, about 15 minutes.
To serve, spoon pilaf onto 2 plates. Remove duck from pan and thinly slice. Remove and discard skin, if desired. Arrange on plate with pilaf. Pour pan liquids into small pan and cook over high heat until reduced by 1/4 and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour pan liquids over duck and rice. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
\o7 Note: \f7 Instead of raspberry and balsamic vinegars, substitute total of 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar plus 1 teaspoon sugar, if desired.
Wild Rice and Currant Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup wild rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup long-grain or converted white rice
2 tablespoons currants
Freshly ground white pepper
Heat olive oil in medium pan. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add wild rice and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add white rice and currants.
Cover again and simmer until rice is tender, but not mushy, 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Makes 2 servings.