Blueberries are my favorite fruit. You can always find them in my refrigerator when they are in season. I eat them mostly as is but in this recipe, I cook them down to release the sugar and flavor in a port wine sauce that works wonderfully with seared duck breasts.
This recipe for seared duck breasts with blueberry port sauce is a great dish that looks as impressive to serve as it is easy to make. You should be able to buy duck breasts at your local butcher. I use Peking duck breasts but you can easily substitute Muscovy duck breasts, if you prefer. The duck breasts cook up pretty quickly with a sear on the stovetop and a quick finish in the oven to serve the duck medium-rare, so it is still pink and flavorful.
The key to searing the duck is to have a very hot pan before the duck breasts are added skin side down. To prepare the duck, cut 3-4 slits into the skins of the duck breasts on a 45° angle, then salt and pepper both sides of the breast and then place them skin-side down into the dry hot pan for 5 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook for 3 minutes on the other side, then place the skillet into the preheated oven for 5 minutes for medium-rare.
While duck is a fatty bird, seared duck breasts are not too bad, as most if the fat os cooked off while cooking and the meat plumps up. You can easily cut around the fatty skin once the duck has been cooked. Do keep the skin on for cooking, as it flavors the breasts and is great for the sear. The sauce is made separately and combined with the duck breasts on the plate. Cauliflower mash is a great side dish to accompany the duck and the blueberry port sauce.
One finely diced shallot sautéed in extra virgin olive oil balances the sweetness of the port wine and blueberries to make the sauce savory and a great complement to the duck breasts. One cup of port wine, one cup of fresh blueberries plus 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses are added to the shallot to make the sauce. Simmer the sauce for about 25 minutes with some light stirring. The sauce is not very thick and but thick enough to coat a spoon when inserted.
To serve, slice the breasts cross-wise on a diagonal. Spoon some sauce onto individual plates, then fan the duck slices on top of the sauce.
Seared Duck Breasts with Blueberry Port Sauce
1 shallot finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon EVOO
1 cup port
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoonspomegranate molasses
2 duck breasts, about 6 ounces each
Salt and pepper
Make the sauce first. Finely chop one shallot and add it to a small (2 quart) saucepan with a half tablespoon of EVOO and sauté 2 minutes. Then add 1 cup of port wine and 1 cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. Cook sauce, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes. The sauce will not be very thick, but it will coast a spoon when inserted.
As the sauce is cooking, prepare duck. Pre-heat oven to 350° and place an ovenproof skillet on the stovetop and heat. Using a paring knife, cut 3-4 slits cross-wise on a diagonal (45° angle) into the skins of the duck breasts. Salt and pepper both sides of the duck breasts and add to the hot skillet skin-side down. Cook for 5 minutes. Then turn the breasts over and cook for 3 minutes, then place the skillet into the preheated oven and roast the breasts for 5 minutes for medium-rare.
To serve, slice the breasts cross-wise on a diagonal. Spoon some sauce onto individual plates, then fan the duck slices on top of the sauce and top with extra blueberries. Serve with cauliflower mash (optional).