DIY Valentine's Day dinner
Why not enjoy a lovely meal at home with good friends?
Sauteed duck breast with cherry port sauce: Why not enjoy a lovely meal at home with good friends serving this crispy duck recipe. (TMS Photo)
Quick and easy to put together and much less messy than roasting a whole duck, duck breasts are a perfect main course for a small dinner party. The key to achieving a crisp skin is letting the skin dry out overnight in the refrigerator.
This recipe serves 4 to 6, depending upon how large the duck breasts are and how big your guests' appetites are. If you just want dinner for two, simply halve the amount of duck breasts -- however, I would make the whole sauce amount. The reason is simple: You can never have too much sauce. Try to find fresh duck breasts, as frozen ones tend to become rubbery. Muscovy or Hudson Valley ducks are best.
Sauteed duck breast with cherry port sauce
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: Remember to start this one day ahead of serving. May be prepared through step 1 up to one day ahead and refrigerated
4 boned duck breast halves (3/4- to 1-pound each) with the skin left on
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, minced
3/4 cup veal, duck or chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons orange honey
3 tablespoons tawny port
3/4 cup fresh pitted Bing cherries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Pound the duck halves between two pieces of wax paper with a heavy pan or a mallet to even out the thickness. Score the skin with crisscross lines using a very sharp knife, making sure not to cut into the meat. Place on a baking sheet; cover loosely with wax paper. Refrigerate overnight to dry out the skin.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to fit the 4 halves. Cook the duck breasts, skin side down until the skin is very crisp and nicely browned, 5-7 minutes. Turn over; cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes. (For medium, cook another 2 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board; cover loosely. Let rest, 5-10 minutes.
3. For the sauce, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the skillet. Add the shallots; cook until softened, stirring up the brown bits, 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, honey, port and cherries; increase the heat to high. Reduce to a light glaze, about 3 minutes. Whisk in butter to thicken and add sheen to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Slice the duck breasts thinly on the diagonal; arrange on serving plates. Spoon over the sauce.
Per serving: calories, g fat, g saturated fat, mg cholesterol, g carbohydrates, g protein, mg sodium, g fiber.