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duck breast...hard to make?? any suggestions??

I'm pondering what to make for our next dinner party..I've never made duck, but I do enjoy it and know at least several of our guests would eat duck. I have a few weeks to practice some recipes. Is duck a challenge? Is it a challenge for serving 14? I called our butcher and their breasts are boneless, 1 lb. each. so most likely I would make 7, and then slice/fan on the plates for portioning.

Thanks! Lovely fall recipes appreciated...I'm guessing cranberry reduction would go beautifully.

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  1. The boneless duck breasts I buy are about 1/2 lb. each, my husband and I share a half. How many to buy is going to depend on the appetites of your guests.

    They are quite simple to prepare. Score the fat with a sharp knife, season with S&P. Cook skin side down in a hot skillet then turn. You do not want well done duck, med rare is best and yes it is safe. As the breasts cook remove them to a platter and keep warm. When all cooked, deglaze the pan, I use a very fruity vinegar made from raspberries. Slice the breasts and arrange on plates, pour the pan juices, dividing it equally among the plates and scatter fresh raspberries over each serving. You can also arrange all the slices on a warm platter top with pan sauce and raspberries and pass the platter.

    1. The two things that Candy doesn't mention is that you don't want to cut through the skin to the underlying meat, and as you're cooking you're going to have to pour off the rendered fat from time to time. Apart from that, it's pretty much the straightforward method for doing magret.

      The sauce can be anything. If you can find autumn raspberries, then fine. Cranberries work, apple, peach, fig etc etc.

      1. Candy nailed it.

        The only potential problem is guests who do not realize it is supposed to be cooked like steak - medium rare or on the rarer side of medium - at any rate, undoubtedly pink.

        1. You could buy a different variety of duck to get smaller breasts. Slicing, fanning, and all that rigamarole for 14 seems like you'd get pretty cold breasts at the table.

          The skin has a lot of fat, and I hate spattering inside the house. I would probably do it in a cast iron dutch oven if you have one.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jaykayen

            what type would be smaller? do you have a source? i looked at Dartagnan, and we have a local butcher and his are the 1 lb size.

            1. re: mrsgreer

              I think your butcher means the whole breast, both halves. 1 lb. would be about right.

          2. What others have said- score the fat (don't hit the meat), pour off the fat when necessary, and MOST IMPORTANT... save the fat! Pop it in the freezer when cooled, nothing better for homefries.... crabcakes.....