Roasted Mallard Duck Breast
If you have a hard time finding Mallard duck in your area or are not a hunter that is ok feel free to switch it for the kind available in your area the recipe works pretty universally for any kind of duck just Mallard are very prevalent in my area and I have a few friends that hunt so that is what I based my recipe on. If possible wild duck will be a better choice than farm raised but if you haven’t that option open to you use domesticated duck it is still worth the adventure of trying something a bit different than the more common chicken.
Now one of the nicer things about duck say compared to goose is although both have more fat content than say chicken or turkey breast duck is leaner then goose and is a bit healthier for you not that it is the best choice of meats from a health perspective but I am not proposing you make this an every other day thing so like most things in life once in a while is fine for most of us. Now this will go better with a fruit salsa or chutney then say a tomato based one in my opinion so try and think of that and most diffidently a fresh salsa not the jarred kind.
As for what to serve with this it goes with many things rather well frankly I am of the mind that either a rice pilaf or wild rice is best but that is kind of personal. Also a nice vegetable combo with rice and duck would be something like broccoli would lend well or you could go a bit more upscale and serve it with say asparagus or artichoke would also work nice. If you have any left over it is lovely in a salad with some dried fruit and some sunflower seeds and such, maybe some pecans and say a stronger cheese like feta or gorgonzola would also be nice and nice light fruity vinaigrette to finish it off.
- 2 pounds Mallard duck breast (2 duck breast)
- ½ cup Armagnac
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- ½ teaspoon sage
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Using a sharp knife with a thin blade to score slits into the side of your duck breast with the fat taking care so as not to make any cuts to deep so that you cut the muscle part of the breast.
- Season the duck all over with nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, and sage, salt, fresh cracked pepper and then place bay leaves on the flesh side, loosely wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate it overnight.
- Remove it from the fridge and place it on a plate to sit on your counter for enough time to come to room temperature.
- In a cast iron pan pre-heat on a medium heat.
- Place the duck breast in the pan with the skin side facing down in the hot pan to sear it and let it brown more deeply then lower the burner to medium low setting and allow it to cook, moving it often, until skin on the duck breast is a golden brown and most of the fat is drawn out of it.
- Turn the duck breast over and allow it to sauté for just a minute, then drain the fat then place it into a 375 degree F. pre heated oven until it is almost medium-rare, around eight to ten minutes. Place the duck on a wooden cutting board and let it rest at least five minutes before you carve it.
- While the meat is resting to redistribute the juices take and de-glaze your pan with Armagnac, to this add about a tablespoon of butter.
- After the breast has fully rested take and slice the duck into ¼-inch slices and arrange them on plates that have been pre-warmed. Spoon the juices from the pan over the meat slices and garnish with your favorite salsa or chutney.
If you have never tried duck it is a wonderful change from chicken and is made of dark meat so it is juicier than chicken breast. With the simple instructions I give you, you will be able to cook this like a pro chef first time out and this is a wonderful way to expose yourself to a new meat. Duck has a higher natural fat content than chicken and that is good for helping keep the meat moist and tender. Just remember like all meat to let it rest before you slice it and you will have a nice piece of meat to serve with a wide verity of side dish it is great with a long grain and wild rice with mushrooms in it, and any number of vegetable sides too.
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