Looking for a new way to serve duck? In this twist on the French classic, duck a l'orange, tangy pomegranate juice combines with duck stock and port to form the basis of a tasty sauce. The richness of the meat is nicely balanced by the tart pomegranate flavor of the sauce, which is further heightened by a splash of vinegar. If you're not inclined to make your own, duck stock or demi-glace can be found in gourmet specialty shops or ordered online from several specialty food sites, like www.dartagnan.com. The sauce can be made a day ahead and finished at serving time. Pomegranate molasses is simply juice and sugar reduced to a syrup; you can find it in specialty stores and Middle Eastern markets, but it's a snap to make your own with our easy recipe.
|4||boneless duck breast halves (with skin)|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|1/4 cup||very finely minced shallots|
|1 large||clove of garlic (finely minced)|
|2 tablespoons||tawny port|
|1 tablespoon||pomegranate, balsamic, or raspberry vinegar|
|3 tablespoons||pomegranate molasses|
|2 cups||duck stock (or 1 cup duck demi-glace)|
|1 tablespoon||unsalted butter|
Dry the duck breasts thoroughly and trim off any excess fat. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern at 1/2-inch intervals, taking care not to cut into the meat.
Season the skin and meat lightly with salt and pepper.
Place a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat; when the pan is hot, arrange the breasts in the skillet skin-side down. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the breasts over and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 130 degrees F (for medium rare). Transfer the duck to a cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let it rest while you make the sauce.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet and return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and soft, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the port and vinegar; cook, stirring once or twice, until the mixture simmers. Add the duck stock and cook until the liquid reduces to about 1 cup. If you’re using demi-glace, bring the mixture to a simmer (it’s already concentrated in flavor) and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the duck into thin slices and drizzled the meat liberally with the sauce. Serve immediately.