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Don’t duck out on trying something a little different

Duck may not be the staple that chicken is, nor have the upcoming holiday run enjoyed by turkey, but it is something that can be a bit more available at this time of year, particularly for anyone who knows an avid outdoorsman. Of course, they’re available the more traditional – or new traditional – way: at the market.

While some people may be intimidated by making duck, this elegant dinner recipe features minimal prep, and cooking time is fast. It finds the duck served with mashed or roast potatoes and sautéed spinach or asparagus.

A little break from the usual doesn’t have to be a big fuss. As a bonus, it does call for you to open a bottle of wine. Have fun with a bit of experimenting, and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Duck Breast with Ginger, Apple & Red Wine Reduction

  • 2 duck breasts, about 8 oz (250 g) each
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 slices gingerroot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 small unpeeled apple, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 Tbsp. liquid honey
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried

Using sharp knife, score duck breast skin crosswise, then lengthwise every 1/2-inch to make crosshatch pattern. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

Place breasts, skin side down, in large skillet. (Don’t use nonstick or add additional fat.) Cook over medium-low heat, draining off fat occasionally, until duck skin is crispy and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Flip breast and sear other side, about 2 minutes. Place, skin-side up, on small baking sheet; roast in 425°F (220°C) oven until meat thermometer reaches 155°F (68°C), 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, leave 1 Tbsp. fat in skillet. Add onion, ginger and garlic; cook over low heat just until softened, 2 minutes. Add wine, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Add apple, honey and thyme; simmer until apple is tender and sauce is reduced and syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard ginger; add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, thinly slice duck and spoon sauce over top.

For a fancy presentation, serve duck breast on top of mashed potatoes angled slightly. Spoon a little sauce on top, but also drizzled around outside of potatoes; garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

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