A duo of duck
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A duo of duck

Confit or breast, duck is a treat

Photo by Judah Cowen
Photo by Judah Cowen

While being home the entire week of Passover this year, I had time to experiment with some dishes for my kosher catering business, Elegant Edge. I had not cooked duck for several years and with the extra time I knew I would have during the holiday, I ordered two ducks to experiment with.

One of the dishes was a duck duo that was inspired from a stage, or internship, I did in a French restaurant in Israel while in culinary school. I hope you enjoy this recipe, which I think is something different and fun. I’m now thinking about creating a duck special for one of our new take-out menus!

Duck duo
Butcher duck so you get 2 legs with thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts or buy separated.

Roast whatever is left together with any fat for about 1 hour to make duck fat. Strain and store.

Duck Confit
2 duck legs with thighs frenched
4 duck wings, trimmed
1 shallot or ½ red onion
Herbs: 3 springs of thyme, plus if you have other fresh herbs like rosemary or parsley it will only enhance flavor
1 lemon sliced
2 gloves of crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup duck fat
For garnish: chopped parsley

1. Layer bottom of small pan or container with half the salt, shallots, herbs, lemon slices and crushed garlic. Put the duck skin side up and then put the other half of the ingredients on top of it. Cover and refrigerate. It is best if you can let it sit 1 or 2 days, but if you have not planned that far ahead poke some holes in the skin and it will speed up the process and should be good to go.

2. Preheat the oven to 225 F. Melt the duck fat. Wash the duck off to remove the salt and marinade. In a clean pan, arrange the duck pieces in a single layer. Pour the melted duck fat over the duck and place in the oven. Cook for about 2-4 hours until duck is tender and could be pulled off the bone.

Duck Breast Seared
2 boneless duck breasts
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
For sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 cup port wine
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
For garnish: ½ an orange zest

1. Dry the duck breasts and score the skin/fat in a diamond pattern; make sure not to cut into the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Place skin side down in a cold skillet. Put skillet on medium heat and try not to move it too much or really at all. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and skin is crispy — about 6-10 minutes depending on size. Flip and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes on medium until internal temp is between 135-165 F, depending on whether you want rare to well done. Take out of pan and let it rest for at least 10 minutes

2. Add the blueberries and the rest of the sauce ingredients — besides those for the garnish — into the pan in which you just cooked the duck. Simmer for about 7-10 minutes.

3. Slice duck breast and spoon blueberry sauce on top of breasts, then sprinkle orange zest on top. PJC

Judah Cowen is a Pittsburgh-based chef and owner of Elegant Edge Catering Company.

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