roasted duck breast with Cherry Garcia sauce
November 2, 2003
Ever since I was a boy growing up in the Bay Area I've always enjoyed
a duck dinner for my birthday. This seems to have become something of
a family tradition now: for the past several years Guy has also had
duck on his birthday, and this year (though her birthday is but three
days later) our bonfire girl, has already pleaded, "Daddy, can
I also have duck?" Of course you can, Bella! My birthday is next
month, so that means we'll have at least three slap up duck dinners
within this period. That's absolutely fine by me: I'd be happy with
duck just about every day of the week.
Today is Guy's
birthday, and the sixteen year old has enjoyed sleeping in like a, well,
sixteen year old. Kim, meanwhile, has made him his favourite birthday
'cake', her classic tarte aux pommes, with a thin and buttery
pâte brisée, the Cox's orange pippin apples glazed
with apricot jam and Calvados.
Now as to the
duck dinner: frankly, I've been avoiding breast lately as, to my way
of thinking, leg is infinitely moister and tastier. But Guy adores breast,
pink, preferably with a fruity sauce. So breast it had to be. The inspired
novelty this year, however, was the Cherry Garcia sauce. I can hear
the gasps of derision. Do you mean Cherry Garcia the ice cream?
Yes, I do. You see, this Ben & Jerry's favourite is not actually
too sickly sweet, the cherries mix well with the other fruit, while
the bits of chocolate when melted and amalgamated, well, they just add
certain je ne sais quoi... Believe me, it works! At least Guy
loved it (and the boy is a discerning diner).
duck breast with Cherry Garcia sauce
or Barbary duck breasts
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbs butter
2 tbs raspberry vinegar
1 tbs sugar
1/3 bottle of fruity New World red such as Californian merlot
100 ml chicken stock
Half a packet of frozen mixed berries
1 good scoop Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream
Salt and pepper
oven to 220 degrees C. First make the sauce. Gently sautée the
shallots in the butter for 10 minutes or so until soft but not coloured.
Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer for a few minutes, then add the
wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce by a half. Add the frozen
mixed berries and the Cherry Garcia ice cream and cook for a further
10 minutes or so (sufficient to allow the chocolate bits to melt!).
Check seasoning and keep warm.
cook the duck breasts. Season with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof
skillet, add a drop of olive oil and smear it all over the surface.
Put on the hob over a high flame and when smoking, add the seasoned
duck breasts skin side down. Cook over this brisk heat to crisp and
brown the skin, about 5 minutes. Turn over, then immediately transfer
to the pre-heated oven. Roast for 10 minutes, remove and allow to rest
for 10 minutes. Slice the duck on the slant, arrange on a plate, and
spoon over the Cherry Garcia sauce.
accompany the duck with a similarly irreverent, unpretentious, upfront
red, perhaps from Andy Tarry's execellars
list: Windy Ridge merlot or a jammy, intensely concentrated Nero d'Avola