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Sep 5, 2008 12:57 AM

Cooking Duck Breast

I hope you can help. We're staying in Dijon at the moment. We have a small apartment for the week. The kitchen has basics for pans and utensils. We're cooking most of our meals. I enjoy cooking.
We have already had a couple of nice meals. It's fun shopping for al the ingredients. Also, difficult because we do not speak French at all. We have found in Dijon most do not speak English either. To add to the problem I forgot my little phrase book back at home. Yesterday at the market we were lucky enough to find a young lady to help us. I wanted cream for making a gorgonzola sauce. She showed me what I needed. When I opened it back at the flat I was surprised how thick it was. Just like sour cream. It worked very well though.
We're heading out to the market in a bit. I have never bought or cooked duck. I'm thinking of trying duck breast for us tonight. All that is here is a Teflon coated frying pan. Will that be able to be used to make the skin crisp? I've read through lots of recipes but didn't find any that could give a hint to that. Also, does anyone have a simple recipe for a first timer cooking duck breast? Fewer condiments and spices the better because I will have to purchase.

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  1. I see you discovered that you need to specify "liquid" cream here if you don't want crème fraîche :-). The latter is better for making sauces, so you should be glad you didn't know. If you grow fond of it, you can find it in latino markets in the US. No problem at all cooking duck in a teflon pan. The skin should be crisp because it fries in all the fat they release.

    A classic preparation for two breasts (magrets):

    Slice a cross-hatch in the fat on the breasts (this is so the fat can render out, but don't overdo it). Cook them in the pan, starting fat side down, over medium/med-high heat for 5 minutes per side. Take the breasts out of the pan and let them rest, partly covered on a warm plate for 10 min.

    While the breasts are resting, pour off all but a tablespoon or two of the fat. If you want to sautee a bit of minced shallot for the sauce, do so now. Deglaze the pan with a scant cup of wine (preferably porto). Reduce by half. Add 2/3 C crème fraîche (the thick cream you bought before). Let the sauce reduce until it clings to a spoon. Season to taste with salt and green pepper (you can easily buy this in little disposable mills).

    Serve with whatever you want, although green beans (haricots verts) are nice. And bread and a red wine, of course.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tmso

      Thank You TMSO,
      That sounds like something I can handle. We just got back from the market and before reading your message I had chosen the green beans:) I think we found two good looking margrets. I'm excited about trying your recipe.
      It looks like I have everything I need.
      Next week staying in a hotel in your Paris. So, we're having fun trying our hand at cooking your local fare while here in Dijon.
      Next week the great restaurants of Paris.

    2. I usually do a basic score the skin/fat (but not the meat), season, and put in a COLD pan, then turn it on low for about 10-15 minutes skin side down, then blast it on medium high (to crisp the skin) for a few minutes(2-3), and flip for a few minutes (2-3). I cheat and use a thermometer as to not overcook, as I like it medium rare, but im usually ok with the above mentioned times. I put it in a low pan first to render out a lot of that fat...

      for sauce, I do the same thing tmso does, sometimes I don't even add cream, just a wine reduction, or a knob of butter.

      here is a "pictorial" of a more recent preperation of duck breast I did.

      such a simple meal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RPMcMurphy

        Frickin' yum! Your pictures provide clear evidence that the skin crisped up nicely using your method. Must've been delicious w/the 5-spice too. Now I am starving.

        1. re: RPMcMurphy

          Thanks for the help. I was very pleased with the results. I did not have port so I used some red wine and Cassis. They made a pleasant sauce. The skin was very crisp and meat med-rare.