Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda.

I should have trusted my instincts.
I could have made this recipe using my experiential knowledge instead of following it blindly.

In retrospect, I would have made the recipe (originally inspired by one from Food & Wine) exactly as you see it below.

I think you will like my version. I got my duck breast at the Heirloom Farmers Market from Top Knot Farms.

The photos I took show my recreation of their version — their photo of the same shows beautifully plump berries, while in reality they actually collapse as mine did. (I didn’t retake the photos for this improved, berry-less second-time version.)

One thing I got right the first time: I paired it with a 2016 Vieux Clocher Vacqeyras. Read more about it on the Provence WineZine.

~ David

Spiced Duck with Blackberry-Balsamic Reduction

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 quart blackberries
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock concentrate

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
4 6-ounce boneless duck breast halves, with skin

In a medium saucepan, boil the vinegar over high heat until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the blackberries and cook, stirring very gently, until they are just softened, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the blackberries to a bowl. Boil the liquid over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Carefully pour the accumulated juices from the blackberries into the saucepan and boil for about 30 seconds longer. Whisk in the chicken stock concentrate and discard the blackberries. Set sauce aside. If done a day in advance, refrigerate, then reheat for serving.

Mix together the salt, pepper, ancho chile, coriander, cumin, and dried mustard. Rub into the skin and flesh of the duck breasts. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to let the duck absorb the spices.

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Heat a large skillet over high heat. When hot, place duck breast into the dry skillet skin-side down. They will pop and sizzle. Sear for 5 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden brown. Turn and cook 30 seconds. Place in preheated oven for 5 minutes (for medium rare). Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Fan slices on the plate and drizzle with the warm sauce.

Serves 4.

I served the duck with a Mash of Caramelized Onion, Potato, and Pumpkin.

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