August 28, 2014
Seared Duck Breasts in Blueberry-Cognac Sauce
Why is it that even after 30+ years of marriage, I am the last to know that The Nudge has a thing for duck?
On our last two cruises, he ooh'd and ahh'd over the menu selection of Duck a L' Orange and the roasted duck with au jus. He never asks for duck when home and I would gladly prepare it for him.
I decided, since he had this obsession with duck lately, it was time to teach him to grill his own. You need to know something about The Nudge and how he approaches grilling. With a no sense of urgency bone in his body, he takes the approach that if I tell him four minutes per side that means he can close the lid, walk away and drink his wine. Maybe with a steak but he found out fast enough that duck breasts, fatty duck breasts to be exact, can not be left unattended for any amount of time when cooking directly over the pile of coals.
For a man who likes his food hot, he just doesn't understand that in order to make that happen requires timing and sometimes doing three things at once. Needless to say, I don't think he will be anxious to grill another batch of duck breasts soon.
I have been emptying the freezer this last few weeks, getting ready to take advantage of the sales of braising and stewing meats to come. Last night we had a Moroccan Lasagna and tonight, roasted duck breasts in a blueberry-cognac sauce.
I couldn't pin-point an exact recipe for a blueberry-cognac sauce (I found blackberries, stone fruits and citrus) so I created my own. Why blueberries? I had 3 quart bags frozen. You could certainly use cherries.
If you don't have cognac you could buy an airline bottle of VSOP or you could use straight up brandy and if you did not have brandy, make something else.
I knew my breasts were large specimens so I planned on a duck & goat cheese salad for next week. Almost as good as a steak salad but you can put fruit in a duck salad and I have my eye on some mandarin oranges, yum.
I made a batch of mashed cauliflower (another he's be requesting lately, go figure).
PS: Save the rendered fat to roast a batch of fingerling potatoes. OMG, the best, ev-ah!
Score the skins of the duck so it cooks evenly. I pour off the fat about 2-3 times. You want a light coating of fat to roast the breasts in the oven. Place the breasts skin side up, brush the breasts with a good amount of blueberry-cognac sauce and roast them in the oven until the temperature registers 150°. Carry-over heat will still keep it pink inside but not rare. A final brushing of sauce right before you take them out of the oven and remove while you set the table.
Slice the duck on a diagonal and place a portion (ours was four slices) over a schmeer of mashed cauliflower. Oh, and don't forget to brush some more of that blueberry-cognac sauce over the meat.
Yummy but not too sweet, and not one fireman showed up for dinner.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!
Duck with Blueberry-Cognac Sauce
makes enough sauce for 4 breasts
* 1 cup blueberries
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 1 small shallot, minced
* Salt & pepper
* 1/4 cup cognac
* 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1. Place the blueberries, water, shallots and honey in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes. Remove a spoonful of whole berries and puree the rest of the mixture.
2. Add the cognac and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Taste for salt & pepper.
3. Right before serving, add the cold butter and swirl to combine.