Amy really loves duck, like, it's her favorite meal! So when she found out about Ott A's Iron Chef Challenge: Duck, she was totally into it and started thinking up ideas. The final decision? A duo of duck, served with Israeli couscous.
The first duck preparation was simply a duck confit leg which we purchased from a butcher. This involved no recipe on our part, just heating up the deliciously tender, falling-off-the-bone duck meat. So very yummy, with its unctious meat and super-crispy skin!
The second preparation was our own recipe and was certainly more involved. It centered upon one gorgeous "Moulard Duck Magret" duck breast from D'Artagnan that we carefully and respectfully seasoned, cooked and served with a sweet-tart Pinot-Cherry sauce. Here's our recipe for that fabulously rich, wonderful duck with the sauce, as well as the couscous that paired so nicely with it.
For the duck breast:
1 duck breast, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound fresh cherries
3/4 cup Pinot Noir wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 ounce Kirsch (cherry liquer)
the juice and pulp of one clementine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow the duck breast to come to room temperature and then score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern. Season the duck breast well with salt and pepper. Place fat-side down in a cold cast iron skillet. Place the pan over high heat and sear the duck until the fat is rendered out and the skin releases easily from the pan, 8-10 minutes. Flip the breast and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. Then place the entire skillet in the oven and cook until the internal temperature is 155 degrees, about 20 minutes. Allow to rest at least five minutes before slicing and serving with the Pinot-Cherry sauce (recipes below) and couscous.
In the meantime, place the cherries, wine, thyme and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to reduce to about 1/2 the amount of liquid. Stir in the Kirsch and the clementine juice and pulp and continue to cook another minute or so. Allow to cool and serve over the duck breast.
For the couscous:
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup Israeli pearl couscous
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon Bella Cucina Aromatic Savory Salts (Wild Oregano and Sage flavor), or a teaspoon of kosher salt with a pinch of dried sage
1 tablespoon salted butter
Bring water to a boil. Add the couscous, walnuts and savory salts. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until couscous reaches desired tenderness. Stir in the butter and serve alongside the duck.