Duck Breasts with Blackberry-Chocolate Sauce
(Makes 4 servings)
By Don Genova and Dana Zaruba
I have to give credit for the sauce part of this recipe to Dana, who whipped it up one night in a flurry of creativity with delicious results!
- 4 boneless duck breasts
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 ounce orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec (optional)
- 1 tbsp. semi-sweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped
For the sauce:
Put the blackberries, sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the berries have completely broken down. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Strain the berry mixture into a bowl to remove all the seeds, then return the juice to the pot. Add the balsamic vinegar, the cinnamon and the orange liqueur and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from heat, and whisk in the chocolate a little at a time. Then whisk in the butter a half-tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the duck breasts.
Pre-heat oven to 450F, and heat until very hot a cast-iron or oven-safe heavy-bottomed frypan large enough to hold the breasts in one layer. With a sharp knife, score the skin of each duck breast, without cutting through to the flesh, in a diamond-shaped pattern. Season the breasts all over with salt and pepper and lay them skin side down in the frypan. When the skin has become crisp and golden and the fat has rendered out of it, remove the duck to a plate and carefully drain most of the fat from the pan. Put the duck breasts back in, skin side up, and roast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the pan and tent with foil and let rest for a few minutes.
Place each breast on individual plates and pour a little pool of sauce around it. This would go well with some sautéed pea tips and some steamed couscous.