Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sliced Duck Breasts with Chambord Sauce

Sometimes this feature will be cutting edge, sometimes not. When not, the reason is often that some great recipes were published before their time and became lost to obscurity. For instance, we recently prepared a recipe that appeared a year ago in Food and Wine for Duck Breasts with Mustard and Candied Kumquats. At the time, such a recipe seemed pretty current, but a year later, it and similar recipes are all over the Internet.

After having prepared it numerous times over the past sixteen years, to me Sliced Duck Breasts with Chambord Sauce is more like a classic. It not only appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 1990, but also made it to hardcover in "The Best of Gourmet, Volume V," which covered that year. Such a recipe, you might think would be easily accessible. Unfortunately, this one could be slipping off the radar screen.


2 tablespoons duck fat (wait for our subsequent feature or use vegetable oil
3 six ounce duck breasts, skinned
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup Chambord
2 tablespoons unsalted butter if desired

In a large heavy skillet, heat the duck fat (or oil) over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it cook the duck breasts, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper, turning them once, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are just springy to the touch for medium meat. Transfer the duck with tongs to a cutting board and let it stand for 5 minutes. While the duck is standing, pour off the fat remaining in the skillet, add the sugar and the vinegar, and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to a glaze. Add the wine and boil the mixture until it is reduced by half. Dissolve the cornstarch in the broth, stirring, then add the mixture to the skillet with the Chambord, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Boil the sauce for 1 minute, remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the butter, cut into pieces, until it is incorporated, then salt to taste. Cut the duck breast lengthwise into thin slices, spoon some of the sauce onto 4 heated plates, and arrange the duck slices over it. Serve the remaining sauce separately.

from The Best of Gourmet Volume V, Random House, New York, 1990