Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with it the need to plan your holiday menu. This year, why not think outside the box and opt for duck instead of turkey? If you’re concerned about added calories don’t be. Despite its deceptively deep, rich flavor, duck is as lean pound for pound as chicken breast.
As an added inducement, Maple Leaf Farms, a one-stop shop for all things duck, is running a holiday sale that begins on Black Friday and ends on Cyber Monday. For that limited time, a two-pack of duck breasts can be purchased for $9.99. A 3.5-pound tub of duck fat — the perfect vehicle for sautéing accompanying sides — is available at the same sale price. (If you’re really determined to serve turkey this year, try frying the bird in duck fat. It will make for a Thanksgiving meal your guests won’t soon forget.)
Here are recipes for pan-seared duck breast in a sage reduction served with a cornbread, sausage, and black bean dressing.
Cornbread, Sausage, and Black Bean Dressing
- Duck fat
- 1 medium size onion, chopped
- four cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage (preferably with fennel seed) removed from its casing
- 1 cup cornbread (use your favorite recipe or store brand), crumbled into large chunks
- 1 15.5-ounce can of black beans, liquid reserved
- 3 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt a tablespoon of duck fat in a frypan over medium-high heat
- Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned.
- Add sausage and break up into small lumps. When browned, add stock, cornbread, beans, and sage.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
Yield: 4 servings
Seared Duck Breast in a Sage Reduction
Duck breast is best served medium-rare. This recipe will provide you with a deep-pink interior and crisp skin.
- Four duck breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 5 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Thoroughly dry duck breasts with paper towels.
- Score the skin on the diagonal at 1/4-inch intervals to create crisscross pattern. Take care not to cut into the flesh.
- Salt and pepper breasts liberally.
- Place the breasts skin-side down in a cool pan. Immediately turn the heat up to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn breasts and cook another 3 minutes.
- Remove breasts from pan, tent with aluminum foil, and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- Pour off duck fat and reserve for another use.
- Add sage leaves. Stir.
- Add wine and scrape to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add chicken stock, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook for five minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Serve breasts whole or sliced, arranged over a mound of the dressing.
- Spoon a couple of tablespoons of sauce over each breast.
Yield: 4 servings