Valentine’s Day Duck

by Susan on February 15, 2010

On February 14, 2001 I attempted to make my then boyfriend, now husband, a special Valentine’s meal of pan roasted duck breast. I had never cooked duck before and for some reason didn’t think it would be all that different than cooking chicken. How very wrong I was. The tough and chewy meat resulted in a serious case of duckphobia. So serious, in fact, that duck didn’t make another appearance in my kitchen until nine years later.

We had received a gift certificate for a home cooking instruction and when I perused the catalog of recipes, it was hard to overlook the duck with cherry port jus. I was game for the challenge. The fine chef who came to our apartment demonstrated the proper way to pan roast duck and in turn I learned what I had done wrong back in 2001: absolutely everything. The skin needs to be scored. The meat needs to be cooked on low heat for a very long time. The fat needs to be poured off throughout the cooking process. Under professional instruction we turned out an outstanding duck breast. But could we do it on our own? Our annual home cooked Valentine’s Day meal seemed like the ideal opportunity to find out. The picture tells the tale:

A perfect medium-rare. A crispy skin. A decadent sauce.

We served our scrumptious duck with a creamy and nutty farro risotto and broccoli rabe. My days of duckphobia are officially behind me!

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