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Duck with blackberry sauce

Duck can be treated like a steak in terms of cooking method -  meaning you do not have to cook it well-done like in the case of chicken or turkey. The key to a beautifully cooked duck breast is to cook it skin-side down for most of the time, allowing the fat to render out and leaving the skin crispy.  A fruit sauce is a classic companion to duck and this version is inspired by the French “gastrique” – a sauce made with wine, vinegar and sugar, providing a sweet-tart contrast to the rich duck.

SERVES
2

Ingredients

Blackberry Sauce

  • 1 cup (250 mL) red wine
  • 1 cup (250 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups (267 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) fresh or frozen blackberries

Directions

Blackberry Sauce 

  1. Simmer the red wine, vinegar, sugar and blackberries uncovered over medium heat until the sauce turns into a glaze consistency (until it coats the back of a spoon). Set aside for serving.  TIP: The sauce can be made up to a week ahead of time and stored refrigerated.

Duck 

  1. One day prior to cooking: Place the duck breast skin down on a cutting board and remove any veins or silver skin
  2. Remove any excess fat that is hanging over the duck breast. 
  3. Make a series of “score lines” halfway into the duck skin, but not into the breast meat. Take your time and make as many cuts as you can, at a 45-degree angle to the breast, then turn 90 degrees and repeat to create a diamond pattern
  4. Blend together the sugar, salt, and cinnamon and season the duck all over, skin and meat.
  5. Place the duck on a plate, skin side up, and refrigerate overnight, uncovered

Cook Duck 

  1. Remove the duck breast from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and pat dry with a paper towel
  2. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add the duck breast, skin side down. You are going to render out most of the fat from the skin so 80% of cooking will happen skin side down. This fat can be saved and strained through a coffee filter or strainer – (it is spectacular for pan-frying potatoes with onions and thyme!)
  3. Cook for around 15 minutes, keeping an eye on your heat. You do not want hard frying but rather a slow, steady render. The fatty skin will start off thick but you want to reduce the amount of fat to just a thin layer. 
  4. Turn the duck breast over for just three or four minutes but we want to keep the internal temperature at around 125° F. Remove to a platter or cutting board to rest while you finish the sauce.
  5. Carve the duck breast at a slight angle starting at the tapered end, cutting about 16 thin slices. Fan them out onto a plate and decorate with the sauce around, but not on top of the meat.
  6. Finish with a grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of finishing salt. Serve and enjoy! 

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