26 October, 2015
Roast Duck with Ruby Port and Figs
Rich, fatty duck gets a double dose of sweetness from port wine and jammy figs.
2 cups ruby port
1 cup red wine
3 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 bunch thyme
8 duck breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. purple figs
In a small saucepan, combine the port with the wine, peppercorns, and shallots and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until reduced to 3⁄4 cup, about 25 minutes. Remove the port reduction from the heat, pour through a fine sieve, and discard the solids.
Season the flesh side of each duck breast with salt and pepper. Arrange 4 duck breasts, skin side-down, in a 12-inch skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the duck breasts, without flipping, until some of their fat renders and their skin is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the duck breasts, pour in half the port reduction and cook, basting with sauce, until the duck is browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes; reserve the reduction. Repeat cooking with the remaining 4 duck breasts and the port reduction.
Wipe the skillet clean, add the butter, and melt over medium-high heat. Add the figs and cook, turning, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the figs from the heat and cut the duck breasts into thin slices. Transfer the figs and duck slices to a serving platter and drizzle with the reserved reduction before serving.
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