DonQui has been rather lazy over the past few weeks but then that is what the Winter Solstice is all about — a fire burning in the hearth to keep him warm on the outside and calvados or port to keep him warm on the inside.
With a belly full of turkey DonQui has not been particularly inclined to do much cooking of late but today he decided it was time to get the pots and pans out again and eat something other than cold cuts and salad.
In the freezer was a large duck breast DonQui had bought in France a few months back. In the fridge were some left over cranberries which he did not use with the Christmas turkey. Therefore duck breast with cranberry sauce seemed to be the way to go.
Here is his recipe for 2 people:
For the Meat
1 large duck breast
6 juniper berries
3 allspice cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon
For the Sauce
100 ml ruby port
100 g fresh cranberries
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
½ cinnamon stick
250 ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons of redcurrant jelly
Score the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife cutting all the way through the fat but not into the meat.
With a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries, allspice, salt, pepper and cinnamon into a rough powder. Rub the mix all over the duck breast and leave to stand for about 10-15 minutes.
Gently fry the duck breast, skin side down, in a dry heavy-based pan for about 10 minutes. The idea is to let all the fat cook out, leaving the skin nice and crispy. Then turn the breast over and fry the other side for about 4 minutes. Set aside to rest while you make the sauce. It will need a good 10 minutes resting time.
Pour off excess fat from the frying pan, there will be a lot of it, but try not to loose the meat juices. If you managed not to burn it then you can keep it in a jar to use later for roasting potatoes
Deglaze the pan with the port then add the remaining ingredients for the sauce.
Bring it to the boil and let it cook down until it is reduced by about two-thirds and had thickened to a syrupy consistency and the cranberries are very soft.
Add the juices from the resting duck. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add a little sugar if you think it is a little too tart.
Thinly slice the duck breast and serve with the cranberry sauce spooned around it. DonQui had roast potatoes and black kale to accompany it.