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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher.
Poultry

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Based on a recipe I found at Williams-Sonoma, this is finally a fool-proof way to prepare duck breast. The Pinot Noir sauce has the perfect flavor for the seared duck. Try our Potatoes au Gratin as a side dish.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 4 hours marinating time    Serving Size: 2

  • (2) 6 to 8 ounce duck breast halves
  • 1 cup Pinot Noir, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 ounces demi-glace
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 2 and 1 tablespoons
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Use a sharp paring knife to score a diamond pattern into the duck breast skin, being sure not to cut the meat. In a non-reactive bowl, prepare a marinade of 1/2 cup Pinot Noir, Dijon mustard and 2 green onions, chopped. Coat both sides of the duck breasts with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

After marinating, heat oven to 200°. Prepare the shiitakes by slicing the tops into strips. Chop the remaining 2 green onions. Set both aside. Remove the duck from the marinade and pat completely dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium heat. Place the duck in the pan skin side down and sear until crisp and golden, 5 minutes. Turn duck over and cook to medium-rare, 8 minutes more. Transfer to an over-proof plate, cover loosely with foil and place in the oven. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.

With the pan still over medium heat, add the green onions and shiitakes. Sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of Pinot Noir, chicken stock and demi-glace. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until reduced by one-fourth and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Slice duck breast and serve on plates with the sauce. Our Potatoes au Gratin make the perfect side dish.

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