After discovering the Joys of Duck recently, I now can't get enough of it. Duck has always seemed like a rich, gouty, old-fashioned meat to cook, but it really depends on how you treat it. At home, simpler is easier, and, for me at least, a quick pan-fry on the stovetop is preferable to a slow bake-baste-carve from the oven.
I found this recipe on the Essential Ingredient website, and the sauce of orange and pomegranate molasses collaborates beautifully with the duck. And as always when cooking with the fatty skin, you end up with lots of duck fat to use another time for roasted potatoes.
Duck Breast with Pomegranate Sauce
4 x 200g duck breast fillets, skin on
1 tablespoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250ml) freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
1/3 cup soft brown sugar (or less to taste)
1 tablespoon honey
3 whole star anise
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1. To make the sauce, combine the orange juice, sugar, honey and star anise in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the pomegranate molasses. Strain into a jug and keep warm (or reheat in microwave if making ahead).
2. Meanwhile, cut deep slashes in the duck skin. Combine salt, ground coriander, five spice and pepper and rub into the skin.
3. Barbecue or pan-fry the duck breasts, skin side down, over medium heat, for about 6 – 8 minutes or until skin is well browned. (If you start with a cold pan more of the fat renders down, resulting in a much crisper skin.) Turn duck breasts and cook, flesh side down for 1-2 minutes for medium-rare or longer if you prefer. Transfer to a warmed plate and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Drain off the duck fat to use in other recipes.
4. Cut the duck into thin slices and serve drizzled with the pomegranate sauce and some green vegetables on the side.
Recipe adapted from here.
Ingredients for the sauce and rub - you can also use blood orange, and it gives a wonderful ruby-red colour to the sauce.
After rubbing the five-spice powder, salt and black pepper on the duck skin, pan-fry the duck to crisp up the skin. There was a lot of fat on these duck breasts, and I maybe could have rendered a bit more fat off them...
The duck is served with steamed broccolini and shiitake mushrooms.
Result: This little black duck is very happy.