Duck – Three ways to perfection

Fall always makes me think of heartier fare like wild game, and duck is one of my favorites. It is much easier to make duck than you might think and cooking three dishes from one duck makes it cost-effective, as well. Here are the dishes.

Ingredients provided by Messineo’s Gourmet Market 

Medium-rare crispy duck breast with a dried plum cabernet reduction

Duck confit over fava beans

Fall soup made with duck

Ingredients for all three dishes
1 duck
1/4 lb dried plums (also known as prunes)
1/4 cup good red wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
two small pinches of clove
1 TB sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
sea salt
white pepper
2 large carrots
1/2 large onion
1 stalk celery
1 TB fresh parsley
1 large potato
1 package ditalini
4 hard boiled eggs


For the duck breasts, remove the breasts from the duck, without bones and leave the skin on. Score the skin at crossed angles (one way, then the other way). Season with salt and pepper. Place the dried plums in a small saucepan and almost cover with water. Add cinnamon, sugar and one pinch of clove. Bring to a simmer and add the wine. Turn up to a boil to soften the plums and reduce. In a frying pan heated to medium heat, add the duck breasts, skin side down. You don’t need any oil in the pan. Allow the skin to render and become deeply golden. Turn over for a couple more minutes and allow to rest. Thinly slice and serve over the plums.

For the confit, take the rest of the skin off the duck. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Add the olive oil. Allow to slowly boil until the fat renders and the water has evaporated. Remove the leg/thighs leaving them whole. Season with 1/4 tsp of thyme, salt and pepper. Leave them in the fridge while the fat is rendering. When the fat is rendered, remove the skin from the pot and transfer to a slightly larger pot. Add the leg/thighs with one bay leaf and slowly simmer for about two hours. When ready to eat, broil the leg/thighs for about two minutes. Serve over lentils or fava beans.

For the soup, leave the half onion whole and put it face down in a pot set to high. Peel and slice the carrots and celery. Add them to the pot. Add the rest of the duck carcass and cover with water. Add 1/4 tsp thyme, the parsley, pinch of clove, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Simmer for about two hours. Remove the duck and the onion, letting them cool enough to handle. Take the meat off the duck and dice the onion. Peel and dice the potato. Add all back to the pot. Add 1 cup of ditalini pasta. Slice and add the boiled eggs. Check for seasoning and serve with crusty bread.


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