About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumnal Equinox Dinner - Duck Marsala

Autum official begins at 10:29 p.m. and right on cue, the weather changed today.  It's cooled down to the 70's, the humidity is lower and the sky is clear and bright blue. I always hate to see summer end but there's something thrilling about that first hint that fall is on the way.  So I have to mark the occasion with a special meal and I feel like duck is the appropriate focus and ramps up traditional chicken marsala. It reminds me of my father and grandfather hunting and bringing home duck for dinner when I was a child.  They'd laugh and say, "Let's have duck dinner, we brought the duck."  Individually packaged duck breast is available in many grocery stores or on line as is duck fat.  You don't have to go hunting.

4 duck breast, rinsed under cool water and patted dry
1 tbls spoon duck fat or 1 tbls olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped fine
4 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
8-10 fresh figs, stem removed and halved lengthwise
1/2 dry marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
salt & pepper
1 tbls unsalted butter
fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Season the duck breast liberally with salt and pepper
Add the duck fat and olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat.
Add the duck breasts skin side down and allow to brown 5-7 minutes. Adjust heat if necessary.
Turn over and brown 5 more minutes.
Place in preheat oven for 7 minutes. Duck skin should be brown and crisp.
Remove from oven and move duck to a plate and tent with foil.
Pour off all but 2 tbls fat. Remember the handle is hot.
Add the shallot, mushrooms and thyme and saute' for 3 minutes until shallot softens
Add the wine and chicken stock.  Deglaze the pan and heat just to a boil then reduce heat and cook down until reduced by half.
Add the figs and cook for another minute.
Swirl in the butter.
Pour the reduced sauce over sliced duck, garnish and serve immediately.

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