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French Fridays with Dorie: Pan-seared duck breasts with kumquats

Dorie Greenspan Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats on eatlivetravelwrite.comDuck. Until fairly recently, it’s been on my “too difficult to cook properly” list.  Also, I find it quite a strong flavoured meat.  And really, I had a pet duck when I was little (named “Ping” after this book) so for many years I didn’t even touch the stuff.  I started to learn to like duck in 2011 when Neil and I were a part of Charcutepalooza – our first challenge was duck prosciutto.  When I discovered that duck can taste delicate, even cooked by me, I’ve been encouraged to cook duck a fair few times – and mostly with Dorie’s virtual hand-holding.  For French Fridays with Dorie we’ve made honey-glazed duck breasts and duck breast with fresh peaches. Dorie’s method of cooking the duck is really easy and I used this as a basis for creating a duck dish with a red wine cherry sauce over the summer. I was excited to try my hand at this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, even though I didn’t get to eat it – I prepped it on the only day I had free to cook when I happened to be going out to dinner myself so Mr Neil was the lucky recipient of this dish!

Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats from Around my French Table on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis recipe was no different in terms of preparing the duck. In fact, the most challenging part of the prep was sourcing the kumquats. Kumquats are small, oval citrus fruits (more acidic than oranges, not quite as acidic as lemons) that are about the size of a very large olive. They are a much smaller than I was expecting, for some reason but I like the elegance they brought to the dish with their small size.  Native to Asia-Pacific region, they are a fruit I saw  lot of when I was growing up in Australia but one I don’t see often here.  In the end, I found them quite by chance at the same store I located the elusive Jerusalem artichokes/ sunchokes for a couple of other Dorie recipes! Since they were from South Africa, I only bought a small amount (since I was only cooking this for Neil anyway).

Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comNone of the elements were difficult to prepare and you can make the kumquats and sauce beforehand. I tasted the sauce only (as you can see I didn’t ruin Mr Neil’s dinner by cutting into the duck “just for the photo”!) which I really liked – I might have used less chicken stock another time as it had a bit of a strong flavour but perhaps it worked better with the duck? Mr Neil can weigh in below in the comments. In any case, the red wine sauce infused with spices was a winner in my book.  This duck is a lovely festive meal I think (the colours help that!) and I definitely would serve this for company. Another Dorie duck winner!

Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats here or on p 232 of Around my French Table.

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17 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Pan-seared duck breasts with kumquats

  1. Liz November 14, 2014 at 07:00 #

    Yeah, I’d have trouble eating duck if I had a pet named Ping (I had that book as a child, too!). Beautifully done…glad Mr. Neil and Bill had a delicious meals 🙂

  2. Rose November 14, 2014 at 07:07 #

    Looks very festive indeed. We loved this one and all of the other duck recipes in the book. But this one definitely won over the others for most photogenic.

  3. Adriana November 14, 2014 at 07:15 #

    I was very worried when I completed the first stage of the sauce because I thought the chicken stock flavor was too strong. The citrus syrup definitely helped balance the flavor.

    Mr. Neil is a lucky ducky!

  4. Mr. Neil November 14, 2014 at 08:03 #

    First off, I have to say that after all her angst and whingeing, Mardi is now officially Ping-approved: this breast was cooked to perfection. I *should* have been more on the ball and taken a photo of the beautifully pink slices (on plate with steamed broccoli and a white-and-wild rice mix)…alas, I was more focused on eating before it got cold. And it’s dark now by five, so it would have been a decidedly unflattering indoors shot. 🙁

    Loved the kumquats, and the sauce was not too chicken-y at all — though I did find it could use a little more reduction so as to be thicker. I think the juice of the kumquats made it runnier than I would have hoped. (Which was an issue with other items on the plate.)

    The red wine I left for Mardi to use was a Tempranillo, which was also on the lighter side so did not overpower the fruit.

    All in all, a wonderful dish to come home to after a busy workday! (Or any day.) Sort of a nice celebration of Dorie after chatting with her and her husband in Chicago on the weekend. 🙂

  5. Gracie ~ Food Fascination November 14, 2014 at 09:54 #

    Delicious.
    Ok, your picture are so beautiful, I had to read your bio to see if you were a professional photog. Bravo, nice job!
    Have a great weekend.

  6. Katie November 14, 2014 at 10:20 #

    Beautiful dish, Mardi! I bet it tasted great and I really do love how jewel-like the kumquats look!

  7. Alice November 14, 2014 at 13:04 #

    sliced or not, you made it look incredibly tasty! Have a good weekend Mardi!

  8. Kathy November 14, 2014 at 14:11 #

    I could never eat rabbit for the same reason. We used to have several as pets! Your photo of the seared duck with the kumquats is lovely! Nicest I’ve seen! I had such a hard time with photos because of the lighting…and I was rushing to get the dish on the table while it was still hot! Happy friday, Mardi!

  9. Cher November 14, 2014 at 20:15 #

    I kind of want to lick the screen. Gorgeous color on that duck fat.

  10. Beth (OMG! Yummy) November 14, 2014 at 21:34 #

    Lovely dish, lovely post by hubby, and lovely of you to make him dinner when you were racing to go out 🙂

  11. Betsy November 14, 2014 at 21:52 #

    Neil lucked out on having this one all to himself. I love how Dorie has taught us to make duck at home. (The Story of Ping was one of my favorite books as a kid. I still have my childhood copy on my bookshelf!)

  12. Mary Hirsch November 14, 2014 at 23:16 #

    What a nice comment from Neil. Although many others have complained about the sauce not being thick enough, I did not have that trouble. I think Neil hit upon the problem – the juice from the kumquats. I reduced my sauce per Dorie’s directions and when I added the candied figs at the last moment, they were thick and more solidified rather than juicy like the kumquats. Really, perfect. Yes, Ping would be a problem for eating duck in the future. I never ate rabbit (and, still don’t) out of love for Thumper. Lovly post. Delicious duck.

  13. Nana November 15, 2014 at 13:57 #

    Mardi, that is so perfect. I think you missed a good meal, but Mr. Neil was quite lucky.
    Have a great weekend.

  14. Diane Zwang November 15, 2014 at 23:00 #

    You did make a very elegant dish. I am so happy you found kumquats. One of my friends used to have a pet duck, I will have to ask him if he ever eats it.

  15. Guyla November 16, 2014 at 13:24 #

    I have to agree with Mr. Neil that the sauce could have been reduced further. Mine also ran all over the plate. Your duck looks delicious!

  16. Cakelaw November 18, 2014 at 04:36 #

    I had forgotten all about the other duck recipes! I must have made them because the only one I have skipped is salad in a jar and I am going to make that soon to complete the set. The sauce was too thin for me too. I have never laid eyes on or eaten a kumquat, although someone at Pilates makes kumquat marmalade when they are in season.

  17. Janice @Kitchen Heals Soul November 27, 2014 at 21:07 #

    I have had this post open since the day after you wrote this because I’ve been meaning to comment on the duck because it looks great! I have to be honest: I’m afraid of cooking duck breast. So I guess you’ve inspired me to try, and I even got a Canard du Lac Brome duck breast to make sometime soon because of your post. I can do it, right?

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