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tekobo

Duck Breast Three Ways

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Our food discovery of 2020 was just how much we like duck breast.

While I was KK-less over the summer I found that cooking duck breast over my Solo Bonfire stove worked very well.  There was limited smoke and what smoke there was stayed outdoors.  The fat collecting channel also felt like a great innovation.  It was so good that I thought this would be my go to method for all time.  

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Then my 16" KK arrived and I tried the duck breast out in there with good results.

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This week I thought I would look up alternative recipes for duck breasts and, alongside a great recipe for blueberry mostarda, I found a great method for cooking duck breasts.  It was in the book "Root to Leaf"  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0062283693/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_bi-cGbYZTK42X.   

Super simple.  Put your duck breast skin side down in a cold pan.  Cook on a medium-low heat for about 12-14 minutes, I did 15.  Then turn over and cook flesh side down in the rendered fat for 2 minutes, I did 3.  Rest for 5 minutes.  So simple. No smoke.  Indoors and warm. Done.  My new go to method.

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That looks a great method @tekobo.

We are having duck thigh and leg joints tomorrow.

I was going to fire up the Weber- but might decide to stay in the warm and dry and see how it goes with the joints - might need a little longer I guess...

 

RD

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Looks great @tekobo This is my go to technique as well. I hot rodded the motor on our extractor hood (small children can get sucked in) and it was due to the smoke that comes from cooking things like this (I think lamb may have triggered the whole exercise come to think of it). Then I found the cold pan method and got my temps right with the fat (silent > bubbling < spitting). I find it's very forgiving and I think I do mine at 15m as well or thereabouts. 

Problem I have is that Mrs BQ doesn't like game. 

Have you dry aged yours? There is a butcher in West Yorkshire who does dry aged duck breasts and they're sensationally good. Given your setup.... :-) 

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Thank you all.  Thought I would share something I should have discovered way sooner than I did.  Hey @Braai-Q, you should have told me before now!!!

Yes, I dry age the duck breasts for about a week before cooking.  The flesh side looks scarily like leather by the end of the process but it comes out great when cooked.  The best bit about dry aging is the skin.  It is lovely and dry and that makes it easy to make the fine hatching which helps render the fat.

@RokDok, the idea of doing duck legs this way has potential but given the leg has less fat you may not get the benefit of the melting fat helping with the cook.  Maybe add a bit of duck fat to the pan at the start.  Certainly interested to see how you get on if you try it.  I am pretty boring with duck legs.  I generally confit them sous vide.  It means I can keep them in the fridge for a while vacuum packed in fat.  Great for a weekday evening meal.  Cut bag, place duck leg in pan to crisp up skin and eat with lentils or some other satisfying side.   

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Thanks @tekobo, but I'm afraid my hopes to cook these legs your method have been dashed.

Mrs RD is going to put them in a roasting tray with some rootish vegetables. 

To that end we've just come back from the allotment with parsnip and leeks.

I did wonder whether they might need a little more fat though and was going to put them in with some clarified butter.

Our raised vegetable/salad bed outside the kitchen is made with oak sleepers which have rotted after only ten years, and I am going to need to remove the soil, the adjacent fencing, the sleepers and embedded lighting, lay concrete foundations and then build the walls in brick.

Mrs RD had only just given me the benefit of her building experience and wisdom of what I should and should not be doing with this project when I opened the fridge door and took out the duck legs to season and score them only to be told that that was not the way they were going to be cooked today.

I think she feels sorry for me now and is quietly doing her knitting by the fire and I haven't been told off for anything whatsoever for the last ten minutes.

I have just shown her the pictures of your duck and have now been informed  (verbally) that I may purchase some duck breasts next week and attempt to cook them as you have.

All is serene in the RD household.

 

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6 hours ago, tekobo said:

Thank you all.  Thought I would share something I should have discovered way sooner than I did.  Hey @Braai-Q, you should have told me before now!!!

You just had to ask! It's classic French method. You've probably figured this out but the classic French method to stop the breast curling (and cooking unevenly) is to put a heavy skillet on top of it to press it flat. If you have two slightly different sized pans, it works quite well at suppressing any splatter. I found this is less of an issue with the dry aged duck - the duck that I get from Yorkshire (when I do sneak an order in) looks almost cured so I know what you mean.

Edited by Braai-Q
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Don’t let all that great rendered duck fat go to waste. Parboil cubed potatoes then brown them in the duck fat. Yum. Our go to way to finish the breasts is to sauté shallots, deglace with calvados, add stock, sliced apple and several cloves, cover and cook until apples are tender. Serve the sauce over or under the sliced breasts. 

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2 hours ago, John T said:

Don’t let all that great rendered duck fat go to waste.

Hi @John T.  Having never cooked duck breast this way before I wasn't prepared for the amount of fat that was rendered into the pan.  I already had sides and sauce fixed for that day and so I did not take advantage of the lovely fat that came off the duck.  Thanks for the tips.  Next time!

2 hours ago, Braai-Q said:

I found this is less of an issue with the dry aged duck - the duck that I get from Yorkshire (when I do sneak an order in) looks almost cured so I know what you mean.

I worked in Yorkshire for about 13 years, flying up every week.  Even the mention of Yorkshire makes me nostalgic.  Different world now though.  Less zooming and more Zooming. 

4 hours ago, RokDok said:

All is serene in the RD household.

Mark and I sat smugly on our (now not so) new sofa and laughed at your description of life in the RD household.  I have to say that I am pleased that he spends very little time on this forum.  I dread to think how he would describe life in our house.  Today I came home at about 1:30pm having been out running errands, filling up the hot compost bin on our allotment being one of them, to find him sharpening the Nth knife of the day.  I gently told him he was in charge of fixing lunch today.  I am not sure if his description of that event would be the same as mine.  

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Lovely duck Tekebo. Have you tried duck soup, Czarnina. Go for four, I know it's up your alley because it calls for 4 cups of duck blood. Well maybe not that recipe, there are others though more conventional, but I do remember the "whole beast book" and thought it might be a match.

Edited by Tyrus
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18 hours ago, Tyrus said:

Have you tried duck soup, Czarnina. Go for four, I know it's up your alley because it calls for 4 cups of duck blood. Well maybe not that recipe, there are others though more conventional, but I do remember the "whole beast book" and thought it might be a match.

You jest @Tyrus but I did actually ask a poultry supplier for chicken blood once.  Not for me mind, but for my father-in-law who wanted to make coq au vin.  They never responded to my email.  I waited a couple of years before I approached them again and made no mention of blood ever again.  They answer all my emails now.  The lesson?  Don't scare folk with weird s**t on your first encounter.  Save it for the second or third.  

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