How shall I cook a frozen duck breast?
May 10, 2011 12:48 AM   Subscribe

Picked up some frozen duck breasts at the supermarket. How shall I cook them?


1) I like a variety of cuisines. I'm not looking for Pakistani or Indian recipes, though.
2) The recipe needs to be non-alcoholic.
3) I'm cooking for one.
4) I'd like to cook it in a way that lets me enjoy the 'duck-ness' of the duck, since I've only eaten duck once that I can remember, many years ago.
5) I have an oven, an electric stove top, some non-stick pots and pans, some glass casserole dishes, and some baking pans.
posted by bardophile to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I like brushing a marinade of gochugang, red miso, sesame oil and sugar (adjusted to taste) on top of meat. Then, I caramelize some chopped onions, maybe around half an onion, and place the meat on top of the onions until it's done. I usually have this with white rice.
posted by onegoodthing at 1:24 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Duck a l'orange is simple yet delicious.
posted by Virtblue at 1:59 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: Duck breast is yummy when seared so it's still very pink inside. It goes well with a sweet/ tart/ fruity sauce. It's important to first score the skin deep enough to reach the fat, and then cook it skin down until the fat renders away. This can then be used to cook your vegetables, etc. Once the fat is rendered, pour it away and raise heat to crisp the skin. Then turn over and cook the other side. Definitely rest 5-6 minutes before slicing.

This blog post has a good description of how to cook the breast, though the author prefers it more done than I would like myself.

As for sauces: I'm afraid I can't give you a recipe as I make it up every time. I simply cook shallots, mushrooms and thyme deglazed with balsamic vinegar and (sometimes) a splash of soya sauce, and whatever else I feel like adding at the time, but I think any sauce that's sweet, sharp and rich would do. Or even no sauce, if it's a good bit of duck. The centrepiece here is the duck itself; I serve it with well caramelised roasted vegetables and a salad. It works beautifully as a meal for one.
posted by tavegyl at 1:59 AM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've done this before. If you want a different sauce, since the one with this recipe is wine based, try something like this.
posted by Virtblue at 3:39 AM on May 10, 2011

Duck breast recipes at epicurious.
posted by Splunge at 6:33 AM on May 10, 2011

Yeah, I've actually never cooked duck (but watched others prepare it) and, more important than the seasonings and marinades, I second what Virtblue has to say about rendering the fat, etc. Proper preparation (and keeping it pretty rare in the middle) will leave you with a delicious, , juicy, tender breast instead of a tough, greasy one. You can't just cook it like chicken, so I've heard.
posted by dahliachewswell at 7:11 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: A combination of balsamic vinegar, shallots, and strawberry or raspberry jam makes an incredible sauce for pan-fried duck breasts.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:30 AM on May 10, 2011

There's a lot of fat in the skin of a duck breast, so make sure that, whatever else you do to the duck by way of sauce, etc., you first sear the breast, skin side down, to render off as much of the fat as possible and keep the skin crispy (soggy, flabby duck skin is horrible). Don't throw the fat away - pour it off, and use it to sauté some potatoes to eat with the duck.
posted by essexjan at 10:30 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Duck breasts are delicious. My favorite recipe involves a reduction of cognac, apple cider vinegar, sugar, orange juice, raisins and orange zest. You could dispense with the cognac and add something else.

For your first time, you might want to just season them and try them pan-fried. I pre-heat the pan for a few minutes on high, then place the breasts skin-side down first. After about 30 seconds, I reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes until the skin is nice and brown, then flip them for another 2-3 minutes. The time varies, but you're aiming for medium rare. Slice them and place them on some frisée and an acidic fresh berry such as raspberry or blackberry. The meat is rich enough for bitter and acidic notes.
posted by Hylas at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2011

Best answer: There is also a beautifully made video here of a quick, simple and elegant way to prepare a duck breast. Don't hunch over the keyboard while watching, damage may result.

I made the (award-winning) recipe that tavegyl referenced above, step-by-step. Normally I don't follow cooking recipes to the letter, but I did for this (as it was my first time cooking duck as well) and it was one of the most laborious, sweat-inducing and delicious meals I've ever made.

I went with a more expensive type of duck because the butcher told me it was leaner. Even with that I ended up with half a cup of duck fat! So set aside a few tablespoons to flavor the potatoes you'll fry and freeze the rest for future deliciousness. The duck breast is a truly fatty cut, in the best way possible.
posted by therewolf at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for the wonderful suggestions! I tried a slight variation on the recipe that tavegyl and therewolf linked to. The results were yummy. My palate and stomach are both grateful.
posted by bardophile at 12:00 PM on May 24, 2011

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