Pan-Roasted Winter Duck Breasts on NC Honey Crisp Apples
MEAT and POULTRY
2 cups apple cider
2 cups beef or veal stock
1 large cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon mixed crushed peppercorns
2/3 cup sliced shallot
1/2 teaspoon diced fresh ginger
2 8-ounce duck breasts, skin diagonally scored
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 NC honey crisp apples
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
PREPARATION & METHOD
1. Combine ingredients for reduction (apple cider, beef or veal stock, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, shallot and ginger) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup. Let the sauce cool, then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Season the duck breasts on both sides with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breasts, skin side down first, and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp and most of the fat has been rendered. Carefully drain off the fat. Turn the duck breasts, skin side up, raise the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and allow them to rest.
3. Peel and core the apples, cut into small wedges. Sauté in butter with white sugar until tender and brown (do not overcook). Set aside.
4. Drain and discard any remaining fat from the skillet and set it over medium-high heat. Add the sauce and cook until it has reduced by half or until it is syrupy. Remove from the heat.
5. Slice the duck breasts diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices. Serve with the apple wedges underneath and the sauce spooned over the top.
Chef Philippe Frespech began his extensive culinary education in France, his country of birth, and spent the next decade throughout the regions of France, the UK and Switzerland working top hotels in Geneva, Paris and London before his love for his wife brought him to the southern United States in 1993.
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