Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pan-seared Duck with Orange Sauce

Pan-seared duck breasts with orange sauce, roasted butternut squash puree and steamed haricot verts
"Seared duck breast isn't the first thing that jumps to mind when we think of fast food.  For us, duck is often thought of as a fancy restaurant dish; for the French, it is something that can be seared, sauced and served in under 30 minutes on a weeknight, which explains why there are so many simple duck dishes in every home cook's recipe box." - around my french table, Dorie Greenspan

I love Dorie Greenspan, and I love duck.  When I want a pick me up and fast dinner, seared duck breast is my go to.  I am lucky that Harry's market is just down the road from my house, and I can pick up a couple pieces of organic boneless duck breast (for $5.00) in a jiffy.

Today is my Dad's birthday; he would have been 69 years old.  He passed away 4 months ago from complications related to diabetes.  It's been a difficult past few months for me and my family, but we know that he is in a better place.  He was a great Dad, very loving, funny and loves to eat.  Some of my earliest memories of my Dad are centered around food; he was the original Bizarre Foods guy, even before Andrew Zimmern claimed the title.  If it looks good, he'll eat it! -- steamed ant eggs, duck eggs fermented in tea and clay, korean bug, turtle eggs (before they became endangered), snake, field rats, monitor lizard, deep fried june bugs & moth, fermented fish innards.. I can go on and on.  He is also an advocate for super foods, organic and natural food -- goji berries, noni juice, cinnamon & honey tea, molinga oleifera (malunggay) juice and colostrum milk are part of his daily diet.

If I would have the chance, I would have loved to prepare my Dad's last meal.  I would have made him some duck, and I know that he would have enjoyed it.

Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Orange Sauce
adopted from Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

2 duck breast halves (8-10 oz each)
salt & freshly ground Pepper
2 T sugar
1 orange, segmented
1 T fresh orange juice
1 T cup cider vinegar
1 T orange marmalade
1/4 cup chicken broth
zest from 1 orange

Trim the duck breast of excess fat and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat an ovenproof saute pan over high heat.  Add the duck breast, skin side down.  Reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the skin is nicely browned and crisped, about 15 minutes.  Turn the breast and cook 10 minutes more for medium. 

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, orange juice and orange segments in a heavy, non-reactive saute pan and cook over medium heat without stirring. Once the sugar has began to melt, stir occasionally until the sugar is melted and golden brown and the oranges are opaque, about 8 minutes.  Immediately add the vinegar and continue to cook until reduced in half, 2-3 minutes more.

Transfer the duck breasts from the pan to warm plates and cover to rest and keep warm while completing the sauce.  Pour off the fat from the saute pan and return to medium heat.  Add the broth and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom.  Add the orange sauce, marmalade and zest and stir.  Simmer rapidly until the broth is reduced to half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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