12.07.2019

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.




32 comments:

  1. Oh my, I get to be first!
    I wonder why you did follow it blindly....Not like you! (Maybe this is a good place to put another plug in on the subject of writing your own cookbook!)
    Your version sounds super good and the pairing looks like a terrific one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we ever find a publisher who’s willing to publish recipes by an unknown, small-town blogger… maybe we will have a cookbook. In the meantime, I will try to keep my recipe list up-to-date!

      Delete
  2. I really like all the spices you put into your sauce David, could one use dried blueberries or other fruit for this dish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s funny, Gerlinde, I was thinking of blueberries for this dish, as well. I think fresh or dried would work very well!

      Delete
  3. Interesting, combining the chile flavors with the sweet fruit and the reduced balsamic vinegar.I see you bypassed the scoring of the breast flesh- makes it easier skipping this step. As always, you make 'step outside the square' and view recipes from another perspective!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I scored the flash the first time around, friend, and I didn’t like the way it cut afterwards. I’ve never seen the real advantage of that…

      Delete
  4. Dear David, love duck breast but haven eaten duck in a long time, around here it's not always easy to get really good quality duck meat from a trusted source. Your dish sounds very flavorful and I like your pairing this dish with the onion, potato and pumpkin mash. Very festive with the berries and a very, very pretty plate for the presentation of the blackberries too.
    Einen schönen zweiten Adventssonntag!
    Liebe Gruesse, Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the art nouveau plate that I used for the blackberries. We found it at an estate sale, and I knew I had to have it! We are lucky to have a local farm that raises duck, Andrea!

      Delete
  5. We love duck so much David :-) but never served with blackberries ! Definitely great flavours to taste.... and there is something else that makes me smile: I started to prepare some vintage curing recipes and vintage breads and potatoes prepared with duck fat and lard to publish next year so here we are, at the same frequency :-) :-) :-) get well soon :-) and thank you !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duck fat is one of the best things on earth! I don’t know why more people don’t use it… Looking forward to the recipes you plan to publish next year, Davorka.

      Delete
  6. This is such a different but appetizing new duck recipe for me that I am letting you know from almost the centre of one of Sydney's current huge bushfires threatening my having a kitchen to cook in ! No rain possible until end of January !! What a Yule gift !! But I have never thought to combiner balsamic, berries, chillies and some favourite Asian spices ! Hope I'll have the opportunity . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bushfires are so horrible! I’ve been thinking a lot about you, and keep hoping that everyone I know there will be safe. Of all the natural disasters, fire is the one that threatens us here, as well. I guess our climate and flora are similar. I will keep you in my thoughts! Stay safe!

      Delete
    2. Tuesday midday AEST - have just been informed the Green Wattle Creek one (110,000 hectares and burning furiously on all sides) has sped up and we may have to go: am still not well, do not drive at the moment etc et al - yes, could do with good wishes just now !! Alltime weather records broken every hour ! best . . .

      Delete
    3. This is terrible news, Eha. You will be in my thoughts and heart.

      Delete
  7. This looks so good David. Love the sound of the spices and the blackberries with the rich duck. It looks excellent, whether the berries collapsed or not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caroline! Aside from the deflation of the berries, I didn’t like the seediness. Altogether mush better with the flavor of the berries without the flesh and seeds!

      Delete
  8. Collapsed or not, the berries and all look delicious! Pretty presentation, too. :-) ~Valentina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Valentina! I still think they would look better plump! And I made a few other changes in my version!

      Delete
  9. I think your dish looks fantastic, David! The flavor of the berries mixed with that spicy rub on the duck sounds like a wonderful match. I'm going to read the post on your post on the onion, potato, and pumpkin mash next! How did I miss that post??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marcelle - the potatoes was a side dish for the meatballs I made after our trip to Sicily - it has quickly become a favorite of ours!

      Delete
  10. Love the spicing of this! And that blackberry-balsamic reduction looks wonderful. Duck is SO good -- can be hard to find, though, at least in my markets. But mail order always works. :-) Really nice -- thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John. The reduction sauce is pretty amazing, and, as I mentioned to a friend the other day, it will be good on beef or venison, as well.

      Delete
  11. David, this dish is so elegant and stunning! The blackberry balsamic reduction sounds wonderful! I've messed up many a dishes by not following my instinct. I've also messed up quite a few because I love to experiment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true, Kelly! As many times as my instinct has taken me in the right direction, it is also betrayed me!

      Delete
  12. It's gone both ways for me. Sometimes I follow my instincts only to conclude, "Oh, so that's why they did it that way." Nonetheless, what a fabulous recipe and an elegant presentation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeff. I suppose the same thing has happened to me, as well. One way I’m usually correct is in trying to reduce the number of bowls, pots, and pans that are used in a recipe. Sometimes it’s ridiculous! recipe-wise, I’ve made a couple of blunders… wishing I had paid followed the recipe!

      Delete
  13. I second Provence WineZine's request above for a cookbook. Perhaps self publish? This recipe is a definite for me. It will be my third Cocoa and Lavender recipe since Thanksgiving. Both the duck and mash look and sound delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet, Heidi! We will see about the cookbook… Perhaps it is in my future. I’m so glad you were making some recipes from Cocoa & Lavender… It does my heart good!

      Delete
  14. I totally know the "what was I thinking" feeling, after you ignore your better judgement and follow along blindly. Thank you for fixing it for the rest of us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I have admitted above, I’m not always right… This time, however, I stand by my version of the recipe!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.