In this simple yet sophisticated presentation, the tender duck breasts are pan-roasted and served over a hearty stew made by braising the duck legs in red wine.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the breast: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Split each duck breast in half with a sharp knife. Place a large heavy skillet over high heat, and add the grapeseed oil. When oil begins to smoke, place the breasts skin side down in the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Saute until breasts are golden brown and nicely crisp on both sides, about 15 minutes total. This process will render most of the fat, which should be poured off as needed while cooking. Reserve 3 tablespoons rendered fat, and set aside. Transfer breasts to a cutting board, and let cool slightly. Remove the rib bones from the breasts; chop the bones, and combine with the other bones provided by your butcher. Set aside the breasts until they are ready to be finished in the oven. Breasts can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 day if not proceeding immediately.

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  • Make the stock: In a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon reserved duck fat over medium heat. Add all of the bones, and transfer pan to oven. Roast until bones are golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, and pour off excess fat. Return pan to stove, and place over high heat. Add 1 cup red wine; deglaze pan, stirring up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until almost all wine has evaporated. Add chicken stock and enough water to cover the bones. Add lemon and orange zests, peppercorns, and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Pour through a fine sieve into a large bowl; discard bones, and reserve stock.

  • Braise the legs: Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved duck fat in a large deep-sided ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Season legs with salt and pepper, and place skin side down in the hot pan. Sear until underside is golden brown, about 6 minutes; turn, and sear until other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain off excess fat; add remaining red wine and half of reserved duck stock (the legs should be almost covered with liquid). Bring to a boil over high heat; transfer to oven. Braise, uncovered, until legs are fully cooked and tender, about 45 minutes.

  • Remove pan from oven, and transfer legs to a cutting board; set aside. Place pan over medium-high heat, and reduce braising liquid by half (until about 2 cups remain). Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon duck fat in a large saucepan, and add diced vegetables. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the reduced liquid and remaining reserved duck stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, remove leg meat from bones, and coarsely chop. Discard bones, and add chopped meat to the simmering stock mixture. Continue to simmer 15 minutes more. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper, and set aside. The stew can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated up to a day ahead; reheat in oven while finishing the breasts.

  • To serve: Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add reserved breasts skin side down. Transfer pan to oven, and roast 6 to 7 minutes; turn, and cook 2 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees for medium-rare. Transfer breasts to a cutting board, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice each breast crosswise into six or seven pieces, and serve over the stew.

Cook's Notes

Ask your butcher to separate the legs (with thighs intact) and whole breasts (with rib bones), and to chop the rest (backbone and wings) for the stock.

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