Duck breasts are easy to prepare and cook if you’re looking to something to impress. I really like having a sauce made with seasonal fruit to go with the duck. In summer it’s red berries and Cassis and it autumn fresh figs and Port. This is a recipe I found in Williams and Sonoma ‘Paris’which was inspired by an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
- 6 boneless duck breast halves
- 2-3 tbsps of Port
- Salt and pepper
- Basil leaves
- Unsalted butter
- 8-10 fresh figs
- Chicken stock
- Green beans
6 boneless duck breast halves – score the skin side with a crisscross pattern taking care not to cut the flesh. Drizzle with 2-3 tbsps of Port, season with salt and pepper and press 8-10 fresh finely chopped basil leaves on both sides. Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 mins.
Pour 2 cups of Port into a pot and gently boil until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. Set it aside.
Melt 2-3 tbsps of unsalted butter in a frying pan. Add 8-10 fresh figs which have been halved or quartered depending on their size. Cook till the figs start to soften – about 2 mins. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down (the pan needs to be reasonably hot). Cook till browned and the fat has been released – about 4-5mins. Take the breasts out and pour off the fat. Return the pan to the heat and add the breasts flesh side down. Cook from 3-5 mins longer depending on the thickness of the breasts. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm.
Keep any pan juices. Pour 1/2 cup of red wine into the frying pan, bring to the boil and cook, stirring, until reduced till 2 tbsps. Add the pan juices and any juice that has come from the breasts while they’re sitting. Also add 2 cups of chicken stock. Cook till reduced to 1/4 cup – about 5 mins. Add the reduced Port and the figs.
Slice the breasts into diagonal slices and put on individual plates. Spoon over the sauce and serve with sauteed potatoes and green beans.
Delicious with a spicy red Cote du Rhone.