Crispy Duck Breast with Pear and Green Peppercorn Sauce

Boneless duck breasts can be a little expensive (although not at Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras), but they make a great special meal, and this recipe is both easy and good.

Servings: 2

1 Large Magret (duck Breast), Boneless, excess fat and any silver skin trimmed
Red Wine, Chianti or other full-bodied red
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Bosc Pears, peeled and cut in 1/4" dice
5/8 Cup Apple Juice, or pear nectar
1/2 Teaspoon Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Brandy
1 Tablespoon Green Peppercorns, in brine, drained and crushed lightly
1 Tablespoon Demi Glace, veal or duck
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Thyme Sprigs for Garnish

  • Score the skin on the duck breast with a small, sharp knife, in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern. Be sure to cut well into the fat directly underneath the skin, but not all the way to the flesh.
  • Season each side with salt and pepper.
  • Marinate duck breast overnight in red wine and garlic.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Heat a 12-inch heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat until very hot.
  • Pat breasts dry and season with salt.
  • Put breasts, skin sides down, in skillet and cook breasts 4 minutes, or until skin is crisp and mahogany-colored, removing fat from skillet as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster (or very carefully pouring it off). Reserve the fat for another use--it's gold!
  • Turn breasts and cook about 4 minutes.
  • Put skillet in oven for 8 minutes.
  • Transfer breasts to a plate and keep warm, covered loosely, and let rest for 8 minutes.
  • Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté pear until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  • Stir together apple juice and cornstarch.
  • Add brandy to pear, then stir in cornstarch mixture, peppercorns, demi-glace, balsamic vinegar, and thyme and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Serve duck breast, sliced thin on the bias, with sauce spooned over and garnish with thyme sprigs.
Per Serving: 641 Calories; 27g Fat (40.1% calories from fat); 60g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 326mg Cholesterol; 246mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fruit; 0 Fat.
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