Yesterday was Christmas. We spent a lovely day without going anywhere. Well, it would’ve been a much more lovely day if the neighbor’s mom didn’t crash into our rental car. We’ll get it all sorted out in the morning, so I’ll have to let you know how it turns out then.
Anyway, this is the second Christmas that we have spent in the tropics and I hope this is the trend as I plan to move to Hawaii before next winter hits.
We spent the morning having a leisurely breakfast on the porch and then until about 2 pm by the pool. Unfortunately due to the high winds and rain of the past few days the water was really cold — no wonder nobody was swimming in there!
After taking a nap with the baby, I started on dinner — a seared duck breast cooked with a cider cream sauce and mushrooms served with mashed taro root. YUM!
Here’s how you make it:
Score the fat side of the duck breast taking care not to cut the meat. I like to do parallel lines in two directions so as to make diamond shapes in the fat. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
In a large frying pan, sear the duck breast fat side down for about 5-7 minutes until nearly all the fat has been rendered from the skin. Drain of the fat and SAVE IT!* Next, flip the breast over to the meat side and cook for a further 5-7 minutes. Remove to plate and keep warm with the fat side up to keep the meat from drying out. In the pan, add a tablespoon of butter and 8 ounces of quartered button mushrooms. Turn up heat and cook briefly on all sides. Remove to plate with duck on it. Then add the thinly sliced white part of one leek to the frying pan. Cook for one minute, then deglaze the pan with 1 cup of medium dry sparkling apple cider, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the frying pan. Allow sauce to reduce by half then add 1/2 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche to pan. Continue to reduce stirring occasionally until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Return duck and mushrooms to pan. Coat them with sauce and adjust seasoning. Serve hot and enjoy!
*This will taste delicious in sauteed potatoes, stir fries, fried eggs or anywhere where people are normally told to use vegetable oil. There are a few distinct differences however. First, like lard, duck fat creates a natural non-stick surface in your pan. Second, it is light just like lard so it help you burn fat and will nourish your cells. In fact, poultry fat is a powerful immune system booster! Third, just like lard (again) it does not absorb into foods easily so you will use considerably less of it than you would of any vegetable oils. So if you insist on calorie counting, then use animal fats in cooking, not rancid vegetable oils!