Grilled Duck Breasts with Elderberry & Balsamic Sauce

Été 2010
food and drink

BY: LeeAnne Wright

Crisp-skinned duck breasts pair perfectly with the slightly nuanced combination of tart elderberries and balsamic. Make sure you pat the duck dry with paper towel prior to cooking to ensure crisp skin. Duck breasts have the perfect layer of fat that renders quickly enough to keep the otherwise lean duck meat from overcooking. Nestle the duck on top of creamy polenta. Frozen elderberries work perfectly in this recipe if you cannot find fresh.

6 boneless duck breasts with skin,
about 6 to 7 oz (175 to 200 g) each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped shallots,
about 2 large
1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
1½ cups (375 mL) elderberries
3 tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Score skin and fat on duck breasts with a sharp knife at 1-inch wide (2.5-cm) intervals.Turn the breasts on a 90-degree angle and score again to form a criss-cross pattern. Try to avoid cutting into duck meat. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.

3. Place a large skillet over high heat and when very hot, begin to sear the duck breasts,skin-side down. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp and fat has rendered; adjust heat if browning too quickly. Turn breasts over. Carefully pour out rendered fat (save it for the next time you roast potatoes). Transfer pan to the oven and cook for an additional 3 to5 minutes. Duck breasts should be just under medium-rare, with an instant thermometer reading of 125°F (52°C). Allow to rest covered lightly in foil for 10 minutes before serving.

4. While duck is resting, add butter and heat same skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add stock, berries and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. If desired, purée sauce with an immersion blender.

5. Cut duck breast into thin slices and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with elderberry sauce and serve.

Serves 6

What to Serve