For some reason duck is not so much a 'cook at home' type dish in the United States but it should be. There are quite a few merits to cooking duck at home but primary among them is that when you do you can have it the way you like it. I stopped ordering it out because most restaurants seem to think it should be slathered it in sweetness of some sort. Thats just not my bag.
Give me a savory duck any day.
A good savory duck dish reminds me of the way chicken used to taste 20 years ago before the chicken industry turned most grocery market chicken into the mostly tasteless vehicle for sauce we have grown all to familiar with these days.
I realize that Dorie's twenty-minute honey-glazed duck breast recipe has honey in its title but it is something of a misnomer. The small amount of honey in this dish is nothing compared to the syrupy, fruity glop some of my local restaurants insist on preparing it with.
Today is a "cooks choice" day for French Fridays with Dorie where the Doristas can choose anything form the book they wanted to cook. Their selections are something of a Rorschach test of their cooking personalities! All my selection will reveal is something my fellow Doristas already know: I'm always late.
This was a recipe selection designated a couple of weeks ago but one which I was determined to make so I choose it for today. Vinegar sauces with poultry are a favorite of mine and the light touch here knows its place allowing the rich duck flavor to come through nicely.
The leftovers made a tasty duck salad over greens the next day.
Twenty Minute Honey-Glazed Duck Breasts
- 2 large duck breasts (2 lbs.)
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 T honey
- juice of one lime
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Score the duck skin with a sharp knife or razor blade being careful not to cut into the meat itself. Heat a heavy dutch oven or casserole pan. When the pan is fully hot put the breasts skin side down and let cook for eight minutes resisting the urge to move them. Let the skin get brown and crisp. They won't stick if you let them cook and render the fat which will let them release from the pan. Cook 8 minutes and then turn them over for another 3 minutes for rare realizing they will continue to cook after you take them out of the pan.
Take the breasts out of the pan and and wrap gently in aluminum foil to rest and put in the oven on a baking pan to stay warm while you prepare the sauce.
Pour all the fat from the pan except for what sticks to the edges and deglaze quickly with the balsamic, honey, and lime juice. Lower heat while stirring. Remove the chicken from foil and add the duck juices to the deglazed mixture. From here you can thin the sauce with a few tablespoons of chicken stock or enriched it with a pat of butter.
Return the breasts to the pot to heat them through (30 seconds or so) and then slice the breasts and drizzle the sauce over them to serve.