Duck with Apricots

Sorry - it's not exactly 'tomorrow' but a girl gets busy you know! LOL

We had the duck a few nights ago and it was very good. Not the first time I've made it, but a new recipe. My usual recipe is to rub the duck with some 5-spice powder; pan sear; finish in the oven; remove 95% of the rendered fat from the pan; then deglaze with some rice wine vinegar, hoisin and add some ginger and garlic. Served with mashed sweet potato...mmm...I digress.

This week's adventure was to find a new recipe. I started how I usually do by going through many many duck recipes to see if there 's something I like. I usually then end up with an amalgamation of recipes!

First thing after taking the duck out of the package, was to pat it dry, then I cut through the fatty layer with a knife making a criss-cross pattern. This was to allow the fat to get crispy, but also to allow it to render.
I pre-heated the oven to 450F then seasoned them with salt and pepper and seared them in a smoking hot cast-iron skillet. As fatty as the duck breasts are, the actually breast meat is very lean, so a medium-rare to medium preparation to me, will still yield you a moist duck breast.
Also you have to put oil in the pan even though they will render the fat out. Trust me on this...lessons learned and all that (picture billowing smoke, coughing, watery eyes, trying to remove the duck from the pan which has bonded on a molecular level...deep sigh).

After a good sear, I put into the oven for about 20 minutes. Once they were done, I covered them with foil and put them on a plate to rest for about 10 minutes to let all the juices redistribute throughout the meat - without this step my counter may have resembled a crime scene missing only the police caution tape! (Yes, I do watch too much television).

So while was resting, I made the sauce. Using the same skillet with most of the fat dumped off, I deglazed with some Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon, then added some brandy. I let this cook down until it was about 1/3 of the original amount. Then I added some beef stock (veal would have been better, but no veal stock to be found in my pantry...obviuosly the house elves have not been doing their job). I let this simmer down, then added a splash of Balsamic Blaze (a reduced balsamic product that is rich, tart and sweet) and some slivered dry apricots. I let this simmer until the apricots were plump then finished with a pat of butter. Mmmm.

Next adventure - venison :-)

J~

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