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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Express your love with duck

For The Associated Press

When in comes to matters of the heart, a luxurious roast duck dinner can be as healthy as it is impressive.

This may surprise some people. Because of the thick layer of fat under its skin, duck has a reputation for being somewhat greasy. But not all fats are the same, and on balance, duck fat has some benefits.

Like olive oil, duck fat is high in monounsaturated fat, the kind that's been linked to raising good cholesterol levels. It also has a decent amount of polyunsaturated fat, which contains omega 3 and omega 6 oils.

Of course, as with chicken or turkey, you can always make a duck dish lower in fat by merely removing the skin before cooking or serving.

Health considerations aside, duck is absolutely delicious and perfect for charming a Valentine's Day sweetheart. This recipe for roasted duck breast with savory plum sauce makes a gorgeous presentation and can be prepared in under 45 minutes.

The skin is removed from boneless duck breasts before it is pan-seared, then finished in the oven. A pan sauce for the duck is made using chopped shallot and thyme with a reduction of dry red wine, plum preserves and chicken broth.

Duck breast halves usually weigh between a half a pound and a pound. Look for them in most larger markets with other poultry or in the specialty meat section.

To complete the meal, consider serving this dish with sauteed string beans and a side of roasted baby red potatoes.


Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 2

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound boneless duck breasts, skin removed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons chopped shallot (about 1 medium)

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup dry red wine

5 tablespoons plum preserves

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 450 F.

In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Sprinkle the duck with the salt, then add it to the skillet. Cook until well browned, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the duck to a small baking dish and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 F when inserted at the thickest part, about 9 to 12 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red wine and plum preserves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more.

In a small bowl, stir together the broth and cornstarch until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture and mustard to the skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.

Cut the duck breast crosswise into thin slices and serve topped with the savory plum sauce.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 513 calories; 129 calories from fat; 14 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 174 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 45 g protein; 0 g fiber; 793 mg sodium.