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May 10, 2011 07:07 PM

Best frozen duck breast recipes?

I have two deboned skin on frozen duck breasts. Instructions on the bell n evans box says to cook directly in pan, not defrost. What in your opinions would be the tastiest way to make these? I'm partial to sweet interpretations of duck- we ate a lot of perfectly cooked duck with some kind of blueberry jam sauce and wild rice growing up in the 80's. thanks!

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  1. i personally ALWAYS defrost meat before cooking. i was truly puzzled when i read your post, because i couldn't imagine why they would tell you on the package *not* to defrost the breasts i just double-checked the B&E website and i realized you must have *assumed* you don't need to defrost them since they don't specifically direct you to do so...but you should.

    so first, defrost them.


    7 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      actually frozen meat doesn't need to always be defrosted. there are methods of freezing chicken breasts for example that make it unnecessary to defrost. and here is the b&e website- not sure why you are just making stuff up?

      1. re: fara

        how am i "making stuff up?" perhaps my "always" comment was an overstatement because of course it's *possible* to cook meat from the frozen state...but by doing so, you risk uneven cooking. and particularly when you're starting with a thick hunk of meat that's frozen solid, it's extremely difficult to cook the inside all the way through without over-cooking the outside.

        and yes, as i stated, i saw the B&E website...and nowhere does it instruct you to cook the breasts in the frozen state.

        i was just trying to help. my apologies - it won't happen again.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I dont get the attack on ghg. seems like ghg was trying to help out the OP. I looked and it doesnt' seem like it specifically instructs consumers not to defrost.

          And I agree with ghg. In this situation, i would definitely defrost the duck breast. Cooking a frozen duck breast at "medium/high" would burn the outsides before the meat gets even close to medium on the inside.

              1. re: fara

                Don't want to "beat a dead horse" as the saying goes, but.....

                The website does not state to defrost the breasts, but it also does not say to cook them frozen. Seems like most people here, myself included, believe that you should defrost the breasts first as this is "standard practice" for a number of reasons, while cooking from the frozen state (except microwave dinners and the like) is not. Since I/we believe that cooking from the frozen state is not standard practice, then B&E would have explicitly stated to cook from frozen if that is what they intended. By omitting this information, it implies that they should be defrosted (based on my earlier logic).

                My 2 cents.

        2. I would defrost them anyway -- I've been cooking duck from frozen and fresh for more years than I care to confess to -- and you need to defrost them first, or you'll have blackened bitter fat and a frozen-solid core.

          1. For what it is worth - I always thaw out my duck (or chicken, etc) first.

            I had a great diner last summer cooking the breast outside on the cooler side of a grill. I put a disposable pan under neath to catch te fat. I scored the skin (but not the meat) an just let it cook for awhile until done. I used cherry wood chips to add flavor. It got a rave reviews. I did not think it would result in cripy skinn, but it did. I only used a quick rub from Tony Chechere's on it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Westy

              I can't think of ANY meat that it's a good idea to chuck straight into the pan...I'm sure there's one out there, but it's not coming to mind.

              I also had stellar success last year with skinning the magret, then turning off one burner and leaving the other at low/medium, then cooking the magret on the side above the burner I'd turned off.

              Golden brown, very tender, and done to perfection (without the risk of a fireball).

              Rendered the skin for my duck fat jar.

            2. I would certainly defrost them before cooking, and your attack on ghg was unwarranted. She was trying to help you out.

              1. I agree that GHG was only trying to help. She gave very common sense advise. Whenever I cook duck breast, it is always thawed out. After it is thawed, I take a knife and make "criss-cross" slits on the skin side, but I don't cut the meat underneath. I always cook in a cast-iron skillet, cooking skin-side down first because the fat renders nicely and you don't need oil. I drain off a bit of the fat and save it for future use. Then I turn the duck round to the meat side and cook for but a minute. Then I transfer the breasts to a plate. I take a bit of brandy, a bit of raspberry jam and cook it in the pan, reducing to a nice syrup. Then I put the breasts back in the pan and cook for another minute or so. We like the breasts on the rare side in our house, but cook to med. if you would like--and that, my dear, is a tasty duck breast recipe. Quck 'n easy--and defrosted!