Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is „Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats“ – a restaurant-quality dish made using wonderful ingredients.
Dorie´s recipe is based on the famous French classic „Duck à l´orange“ – but her recipe replaces whole duck with Muscovy duck breasts and the syrupy orange glaze with a red-wine sauce and tart-sweet candied kumquats.
Kumquats are also called „Chinese oranges“ (although mine hailed all the way from South Africa). They are the smallest of the common citrus fruit. In contrast to other fruit from this group, the skin and zest are sweet, while the juicy insides are tart with a hint of bitterness. As they are a winter treat, they were a bit hard to track down around here. Kumquats can be eaten whole, just as they are or cooked with sugar, spices or spirits to make sweet compôtes and aromatic chutneys.
This recipe is done in three steps. First up you have to candy the kumquats in sugar syrup. Then it is onto the sauce made of a fruity red wine, balsamic vinegar, chopped shallots, crushed black peppercorns and coriander seeds, freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade chicken broth and a few tablespoons of that lovely kumquat syrup. The third and last step is the preparation of the duck breasts.
To prepare the duck breats, using a sharp knife, slash the fat of the duck breasts in a criss-cross, cutting almost through to the flesh. Season with salt and pepper. Then heat a Dutch oven or a heavy-based frying pan, until you can feel a gentle heat, then place the duck breasts, skin-side down. Cook for eight minutes on a low to medium heat until the fat begins to melt. Spoon over the duck and season some more. When the skin begins to brown and crisp, spoon out the excess fat (there will be lots of it) to save for frying shoestring potatoes. Flip over the breasts and cook for another three minutes on the flesh side. This will give you medium-rare duck. Remove from the heat, cover with foil, place in the oven and allow to stand for five minutes, then slice diagonally.
Divide duck breast slices among the plates. Drizzle duck with red wine sauce, garnish with candied kumquats, sprinkle with crushed peppercorns, and serve with some seasonal lambs lettuce and delectable shoestring fries made with the duck fat that you saved earlier.
This recipe is truly amazing. The sauce is dependent on a good-quality wine and the candied kumquats were delicious and easy to make. Really an elegant dish with a well balanced red wine sauce and sweet-tart candied kumquats, that both complement the duck very well. This recipe is definitely a keeper and the flavors are so appropriate for the season.
To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the “ Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats“ on pages 232- 233 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".