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Pan Roasted Duck with spinach, pancetta and marcona almonds

January 16, 2010

Originally uploaded by Drifting Luminosity

Duck is a very interesting type of poultry. The meat of a duck is much darker then that of turkey or chicken and it has a higher fat content (think flavor). Since they spend most of their time in water – evolution has given them a nice layer of fat. This layer of fat is what makes the breast meat of a duck taste so good, it really locks in the juices and gives the meat a nice flavor – almost like a steak! You can pan sauté a duck breast and give it a nice crispy outside texture while the breast meat on the inside stays nice moist and tender. Most of the duck meat you’ll find at the butcher will probably be Pekin, aka Long Island, Duck. I used a Moulard variety of duck for this dish, a sterile cross between a Pekin and a Muscovy duck. I also flash cooked the spinach in the left over pancetta oil to give them a nice smoky flavor and made a boysenberry glaze to spoon over the sliced duck breast.

Ingredients:
– 2 boneless Duck Breasts, skin and fat left on
– 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
– Kosher Salt and cracked black Pepper
– 4 oz. of Pancetta or bacon, sliced into ½ inch pieces
– 1 handful of Marcona Almonds, crushed into large pieces
– 4 oz. of sliced Shitake mushrooms
– 4 large handfuls of Spinach, chiffonade into ½” ribbons
– 2 tablespoons of butter
– 1 Shallot, chopped
– 2 cloves Garlic
– 1 cup of Red Wine
– 1 cup of Red Wine Vinegar
– 2 tablespoons of sugar
– 2 tablespoons of boysenberry preserves (or any seeded berry just don’t use jelly!)

For your Boysenberry Glaze: In a small sauce pan over medium high heat melt your butter. Add your garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent – about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn heat to high and add the red wine. Let the wine boil for a couple of minutes until the alcohol smell is gone. Add your red wine vinegar and sugar and a dash of salt. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by 2/3’rds to a thick glaze.

For the Duck Breast: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Season both sides of your duck breast with salt and pepper. Add your olive oil and sauté your duck breasts each side about 5 minutes each. Remove duck breast to a plate. Next add your pancetta pieces and sauté until crisp. Remove your pancetta to another dish leaving their residual cooking oil. Now add your duck breasts back to the pan and cook a total of another 16 minutes (go 4 minutes per side, flip, and repeat). Each flip you should ladle some of the cooking oil over the top side of the meat with a spoon. Remove breasts and set aside to rest.

Next add your shitake mushrooms to the pan you cooked the duck breasts in – there should be plenty of residual cooking oil in there. Cook them over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add your spinach, almonds and pancetta pieces. Turn off heat and quickly stir the spinach and other ingredients coating them in the cooking oil. Don’t over cook the spinach you just want to see a light wilt. Quickly move the contents to another bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To serve heap some spinach in the middle of each plate, fan some sliced duck breast around the spinach and ladle some boysenberry glaze over the top.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2010 3:56 pm

    This whole dish was phenomenal but that spinach was to die for, I could eat it every day.

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