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Monday, October 4, 2010

Duck Breasts with Crispy Potatoes

One of the recipes in the October, 2010 issue of Food and Wine that caught my eye was Duck Breasts with Crispy Potatoes and Frisee Salad.  I've never cooked duck before.  Goose, yes.  Duck, no.  And, I knew just where to get duck breasts - Kincaids.  More about them in the Carolina Pulled Pork post. 

Now, I've got to tell you Connie does want a turducken.  That will probably happen this winter.  I just got him a carving knife (for Christmas) that'll make his carving job ever so much easier.  Hopefully, he's planning on doing the carving, boning etc.  I'll just have to come up with the stuffings, balance of the meal and guest list.  He's going to have the toughest part of the job!

Do you want to know about my cooking Connie's goose?  I thought you were probably curious!  Did you know that in Merry Olde England goose was the typical Christmas entree?  Turkey was for the upper crust.  How times change, eh?  So, Connie decided he'd love to have a goose.  He pestered me.  Gently, but still pestering.  I started researching medieval cookery.  Found out a lot about cooking way back when.  For example, many of our favorite vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage to name a few) are descendents of a plant called cole wart that grew wild.  Different cultures bred it for characteristics they valued.  Naturally, a dish with multiple cole wart descendents was included.  So was fruit cooked in red wine.  Fruit in pretty much everything was the norm.  I actually read today in Saveur that duck a l'orange is one of the few holdovers from the cookery prior to Louis XIV.  The article says, "A great culinary revolution was simultaneously under way in France, one that eschewed the heavily spiced sweet-sour dishes of the past in favor of subtler, herbed and butter-lavished preparations."  The goose was terribly greasy but the flavor was great.  I used a ton of port both to cook the goose and for the sauce.  Here's a photo of Connie carving his goose:

 Back to our duck.  I've never had duck without some kind of sauce so I hesitated to omit one here.  But, I figured the worst that could happen would be me running to the pantry to grab a jar of some kind of sauce.  The potato portion of the recipe called for cooing the potatoes in about 2 cups of oil.  Yes, you read that correctly, TWO CUPS.  Fat chance I was going to do that!  A tablespoon in the bottom of the pan was sufficient.  There was no frisee at the grocery so we used regular leaf lettuce with some parsley tossed in.  At that point, the salad looked really naked so I tossed in some sliced hearts of palm. 

What did we think?  The potatoes won.  Hands down.  They were amazing.  My directions below are how I made them.  Without the two cups of oil - lol.  The duck was very good.  It was flavorful, moist, perfectly cooked.  I'm not sure if the skin was supposed to get crispy but it didn't and that didn't matter because I took it off anyway.  The salad, well, it wasn't my favorite. 

Duck Breasts with Crispy Potatoes and Frisee Salad
serves 4


for the potatoes:
3 large red potatoes, thinly sliced
1-2 T olive oil
6 sprigs thyme
1 garlic clove, halved

for the duck:
4 duck breasts
salt and freshly ground pepper

for the salad:
1 T chardonnay vinegar
1 T white truffle oil
1 T olive oil
1 head green leaf lettuce, coarsely torn
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
3 hearts of palm, thinly sliced


In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the sliced potatoes, salt and thyme. 

Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are browned on the bottom.  Flip the potatoes and add the garlic.  Add more olive oil if necessary. 

While the potatoes are browning on their 2nd side, score the duck skin in an X to allow the fat to render. 

Cook them skin side down in a large skillet on medium heat. 

As the fat renders, remove it from the skillet.  Reserve the duck fat for the potatoes.  When the duck skin is nicely browned, turn the breasts.  About 15 minutes. Cook the breasts another 5-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 140-145.  Remove from the heat and tent to keep warm.  Juices will accumulate on the plate.  You'll add those to the potatoes.

Pour 1-2 T of the duck fat over the potatoes.  Once that's absorbed, pour the accumulated juices from the duck breasts over the potatoes.

Toss the lettuce, parsley and hearts of palm together. 

Mix the salad dressing and pour it over the salad. 


adapted from Food and Wine

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This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD and WINE archive. As a FOOD and WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD and WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD and WINE for my participation.


Anonymous said...

Your going to attempt a turduken.. wow, i hopeyou blog that one!!
Nice recipe!

Thomas Andrew said...

I love duck, but haven't made it in over a year. cousin made a turduken came out good!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Your duck looks perfectly cooked and I love how balanced this meal is.

Carolyn said...

I love duck. Love, love, LOVE it. But I've never cooked it at home. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

Charlie said...

Hi Kate:
That is my daughter's name. Not shortened just Kate.

I did know about the goose, my grandmother was English. This is a tradition in my family also.

I have included a website url, it shows you how to crisp up the skin. You may think that it make the meat greasy but it doesn't.

Wouldn't be surprised if you get hooked on the recipes.

Neil Perry does something wonderful with pork.