About a month ago, I decided to make a nice special meal for my wife for mothers’ day. I asked her what she wanted, and she said duck. This made me happy, since I consider duck to be one of the most wonderful foods in the entire universe.
I decided that instead of making one of my regular duck dishes, I’d try something new. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do: I just went to the store, and looked around to find something that appealed to me. I ended up creating a dish that’s a real winner: duck breast in a port wine and mushroom sauce.
- 2 large duck breasts
- 4 shallots
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tablespoons butter.
- 2 cups red wine.
- 1/2 cup port wine.
- 1 pound wild mushrooms, sliced.
- 4 or 5 dried morels, rehydrated in water, then drained and sliced thinly.
- Prepare the duck breasts: Take your duck breasts, trim off any excess fat or gristle, and cut a cross-hatch pattern into the skin on the breasts. (This will both help the marinade penetrate, and make the fat in the skins render more cleanly.)
- Make the marinade: Put 2 shallots into a food processor, and mince them. Then add the red wine, and a generous dose of salt.
- Put the duck in the marinade, and let it sit for an hour or two.
- Sear the duck breasts:
- Heat an unoiled pan till it’s good and hot.
- Take the duck breasts from the marinade, and pat them dry, ten sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Put the duck breasts into the pan, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook them skin side down for 3 minutes. Then turn them over, and cook for another three minutes on the other side.
- Then remove them from the pan, and let them rest for five minutes. (You can go ahead and start the sauce while they rest.)
- Slice the breasts into medium-thick slices. You want them sliced a bit more thickly than is typical for a seared duck breast, because they’re going to cook a little bit in the sauce, and you still want the centers to be nice and rare.
- Make the sauce:
- Slice the second two shallots as thinly as possible.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add sliced shallots and the minced garlic, and cook until the shallots are transparent.
- Add the mushrooms, and some salt. Cook until the mushrooms are done. (How long that’ll take will depend on the mushrooms you picked; fresh chanterelles will cook in seconds; portobellos will take a few minutes.)
- Add the port wine, and let the sauce reduce until most of the liquid from the wine is gone. Taste it now, and add salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat, and add another pat of butter, and stir it around until it melts.
- Put it all together:
- Add the sliced duck breast to the hot sauce, and toss it so that the duck is well coated.
- Serve – arrange the duck slices on the plate, and cover with a generous helping of the mushrooms.
I served this with some slow-cooked collard greens, and a nice bottle of 1997 Australian Shiraz.