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Author Notes: Pairing duck breast with seasonal fruit is always a winner. In the midst of citrus fruit season, this is an update to the French classic duck à l´orange: Pan frying the magrets (breasts) instead of oven roasting a whole bird takes much less time, and leaves you with a flavorful, succulent Madeira orange gravy. —Sabine
duck breasts, approx. 250 g each
(blood) oranges, filleted
milliliters orange juice
milliliters Madeira wine (or red wine)
salt, pepper ground chili to taste
a few twigs thyme
- Take duck breasts out of the refrigerator about 1 hour prior to preparing it.
- To segment the oranges, use a sharp small knife, cut off top and bottom, place them on a chopping board and remove the skin and pith working carefully from bottom to top. Now holding the orange in your hand, cut each inner segment away from the membrane. Catch segments and juices in a small recipient. Squeeze 1-2 more oranges to end up with 75 ml orange juice.
- Heat up your oven at low heat (warm enough to keep meat warm later, in my case it´s 80°C).
- Incise duck breast skin (not the meat) in a crosswise pattern. Over high heat, fry duck breasts skin side down without additional fat for 4 minutes (until skin is crispy and golden), then for another 3-4 minutes from the other side. I use a cast iron skillet for frying. Keep warm in your oven on a plate.
- Remove most of the duck fat from the pan (and save it for your next batch of roast potatoes).Add orange juice, Madeira wine and star anise to the pan and reduce to about half over high heat. Reduce heat to low, season with salt, pepper, chili and honey to taste. Add duck breasts (with juices), orange segments and thyme, close the lid and allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes -or a little longer, depending on how you like your cuisson. I like mine medium, so the time frames indicated in this recipe refer to that.
- Remove star anise from the pan. Serve with roast potatoes or couscous.