Sunday, February 8, 2009

Seared Duck Breast with Madeira Sauce and Root Vegetable Confetti

(To just see the recipes, please scroll to the bottom;)

Thank you Food and Wine magazine. You not only showed me an incredible way to prepare duck this week, but you introduced me to Madeira, a fortified wine from Portugal. (You know I love to put booze in my recipes and now I have a new one to play with!)

Madeira is everything I wanted Marsala, Italy's fortified wine, to be. It's unapologetically flavorful - a liquid layer cake of sweet and spicy. When I first opened up a bottle and smelled it, I wanted to crawl inside of it and swim around like a mermaid.

The duck in this recipe was only supposed to marinate for 30 minutes, a detail I happened to overlook and instead marinated mine for 3 days. Mistake or not, that's the way I'll make it from here on out. A dead drunk duck breast is far superior to a tipsy one, in my opinion.

Duck Breasts with Roasted Root Vegetables and Madeira Sauce
Adapted from Food and Wine magazine, per Motor Supply Company Bistro (Columbia, South Carolina)
Serves 2.

* As I mentioned, I marinated my duck breast for 3 days. I also made the sauce two days ahead, put in the refrigerator, then just reheated on the stove while my vegetables roasted. This made a fancy weekend dinner an easily doable weeknight one.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
salt and pepper
1 cup Madeira
1 whole star anise (OR SUB 1/8 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 cup low sodium chicken stock

Heat a medium, heavy pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, allowing to hear through for 1 minute, then shallots. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring every so often, for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the Madeira, star anise or Chinese Five Spice powder, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil for ten minutes, until the liquid has reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the chicken broth and return to a boil for another ten minutes, or until liquid nets 1/3 cup. Spoon over duck or cool and refrigerate until you're ready to use. Don't forget to remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and bay leaf before serving or storing.

Roasted Root Vegetables:
2 beets, washed and scrubbed, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small carrot, washed and scrubbed, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 small parsnips (or 1 large), washed and scrubbed, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
couple tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place your vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle over a good amount (large pinch) sea salt of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over, making sure there's enough to coat each vegetable piece as well as a little leftover for the bottom of the pan as a bed, to prevent burning. Put veggies in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 for ten minutes, remove from oven and flip over. Return to oven for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned on the other side and a little shrunken (this indicates a deepening of flavor and that they're cooked all the way through.) Remove and set aside (if they're done early, you can take them out, then just return them to a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or so until reheated through.)

1 nice-sized duck breast (enough meat for two people)
1/4 cup Madeira
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole star anise, or 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter, for pan searing

Using a sharp knife, gently score skin side of duck breast diagonally to create a 1/4 inch diamond pattern. Place the rest of the marinade ingredients (Madeira through cinnamon stick) in a large Ziploc bag and slosh around to meld. Add the duck breast, seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or as I recommend - 3 days!)

Remove duck from fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Remove from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 (if you're making the vegetables above, your oven should already be on.) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy, medium sized, oven proof skillet over medium/high heat (if you don't have an oven proof one - just transfer the duck to an aluminum lined, Pam sprayed cookie sheet after searing to bake off.) When the oil/butter is hot, add the duck skin side down. Reduce heat slightly, and sear for 7 minutes, until some of the fat has rendered from the skin and it's begun to crisp up to a deep golden brown. If you like your duck cooked to medium or medium well, flip and cook another 3 minutes on the other side. If not, simply flip the duck and transfer your skillet to the oven for about 12 minutes for medium rare and 15-18 minutes for medium to medium well. (The original instructions indicate to cook the duck for less on a much higher temperature - but my tiny oven smokes to much with the fatty skin of a duck inside it, so I've adjusted the recipe for NYC living. I also prefer my duck to be tragically over cooked compared to the culinary chic-ness of medium rare. But it's my duck and I'll eat it as I want to.)

Remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes before slicing and serving in a fan over a bed of the root vegetables, drizzled with the Madeira sauce.


Haley said...

Mmm... drunk duck sounds pretty good to me! fancy!

Amber May said...

This was amazing!! So so good :) Thanks for posting!!