One of the meats that is readily and inexpensively available in France is duck breast. Where in the U.S. I may have bought a single duck breast for about $10 - $15, here in France I can usually get two for that same price, and even three when they're on sale. In fact, it's almost shocking that the U.S. doesn't have a stronger duck meat industry, as ducks are relatively inexpensive and easy to raise.
With duck so prevalent here, it's easy for me to sometimes fall into a rut with how I cook it. A few weeks ago was one of those weeks where duck breasts were on sale. I scooped up a three-pack for just under 15 euros. I wanted to try something new, so I decided to give a glaze a shot.
For the glaze, I used an onion-blueberry preserves that my mother-in-law gave me as a gift. The onion-blueberry preserves I used weren't very sweet, so I added some cassis preserves and sugar for a more rounded, balanced flavor. Granted, it may be difficult to find onion-blueberry preserves, but you can really substitute any other type of preserves. Depending on the sweetness of what you end up using, you may not need to add any additional sugar.
The good news is that this recipe has only a handful of ingredients, offers a lot of flexibility in terms of substitution, and takes very little effort to make.
There are few things more delicious than crispy duck skin, and so the tricky thing about glazes applying a glaze is keeping the duck skin crispy. For this particular recipe, the glaze ended up making it a little too soft, unfortunately. That just means I'll have to experiment more. It'll be hard, but I'm willing to take one for the team in the name of culinary science!
The recipe follows and, if you cook this, tag photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #eatfrenchclub.
Glazed duck breasts
- Two boneless duck breasts
- Two tablespoons onion-blueberry preserves
- One tablespoon cassis jam
- One tablespoon light brown sugar
- One half cup red wine
- Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C.
- Score duck skin in diamond shape, cutting only the skin and avoiding the meat.
- Season breasts with salt and pepper (both skin-side and meat-side).
- Place duck breasts skin-side down in a cold non-stick frying pan. Place on stove on medium-high heat.
- Sear skin-side down for approximately 10 minutes, or under skin is golden brown and crispy. Sear all other sides of duck (bottom and sides) for an additional 2-3 minutes each or until browned.
- Remove duck breasts and place on a flat cooking sheet, skin-side up.
- In a saucepan combine preserves, jam, sugar and wine. Reduce on medium-high heat until sauce is syrupy.
- Brush duck breast skin with sauce, preserving approximately 1/2 - 1/4 of sauce.
- Place glazed duck breast in oven for approximately 10 minutes, or under internal temperature reaches 135 F/57 C.
- Remove duck breasts and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- While duck breasts are resting, further reduce sauce on medium heat. Sauce should be extremely syrupy at this point.
- Slice duck breasts and spoon remaining sauce over slices.
- 10" non-stick frying pan
- 11 x 17 flat baking sheet
- small sauce pan