This dish tastes like Christmas. I’m not saying that it’s only suitable for that festive time of the year, in fact I don’t think that was it’s purpose, but you will understand when you take your first bite of crispy, savoury, cinnamon-y, and forest berry goodness. Don’t be afraid of this one, it’s just a one pan deal, and will be ready in a matter of minutes. You just need to grab yourself a few good quality duck breasts, the free range happy kind if up to me, and you’ll have people (or yourself) really impressed without doubt.
I thought I would whip this one up seeing that I have just touched down in Paris, the weather is getting colder, the leaves are brown, and there is something very comforting about this classic French dish. A note to those who can’t get their hands on creme de cassis, a framboise liqueur will suffice, and if raspberries are exorbitantly expensive where you are in the world, then the frozen ones do a great job too.
Magret de Canard / Duck with Raspberry & Cassis (makes two)
You will need:
2 free range duck breasts (about 200g each)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp Demerara sugar or raw caster sugar
125ml red wine (one that you would drink)
75ml creme de cassis or framboise
1 heaped tsp cornflour or arrowroot powder
Sharpen a good knife and score the skin of the duck breasts, without touching the flesh below. Heat a frying pan to smoking hot. If it is not a non-stick pan, you might want to oil it a little. Lay your duck breasts skin side down, onto the pan and leave to become golden brown. The fat should run out, so swirl it around the pan a few times. After a few minutes, your skins should be nicely golden, so lift them out onto a plate, with the skins facing upwards.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, and cinnamon, and sprinkle onto the duck skins. Press it on with your hands. Turn your pan back onto a low heat, and put your duck back in, this time skin side UP. Let the duck slowly cook on the lower heat until the flesh is cooked through. It will take about 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, lift the duck out and leave it to rest on a board. Turn on your grill, so that it is nice and hot. Meanwhile, mix together the wine and cornflower in a small bowl, and pour it into the hot pan to deglaze. This will lift the bits off the bottom and make a nice sauce. Add the raspberries and liqueur, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened and the berries are warmed through. Turn off the heat and season with sea salt.
Place the duck breasts under the grill, skin side up, to crisp up the crust. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the grill, carve up into pieces using the score marks as a guide, then arrange onto a nice big serving dish. Spoon the raspberry sauce over the top and finish with some freshly cracked pepper before serving immediately.