Magret Duck Breast, brandied peaches and cherries sauces
It was kind of like playing a little game of ‘duck, duck, goose’ well all except there was no goose, only a missing duck, one Magret Duck Breast.
There were two duck breasts in my tall garage freezer at last count and having recently prepared brandied peach and cherries sauces I thought they might be a nice little complement to a bird whose late summer presentation needed little other adornment.
But despite the tall freezer in the garage being in a rather organized state, it is packed, hence one of the duck breasts, an ingredient that does not have its own labeled plastic holding bin on the shelves, had somehow gone missing between various containers of stocks, bones, and my categorical meat, fish, chicken, and miscellaneous sections.
Sans the goose, alas! duck, duck found.
Hence, the festive occasion began with a lovely dish of Magret Duck Breast, brandied peaches and cherries sauces.
The Magret is the breast of a Moulard Duck whose rich dark red colored cut is rather meaty.
The Moulard duck is a breed cross between a Muscovy Duck and a Pekin Hen and is highly prized for its large size production for fois gras.
It is also known for its rich production of fat rendering grease upon cooking, now commonly featured on the landscape of many restaurant menus in the form of crispy, tasty, duck fat fries.
In many ways I suppose one might consider this duck as having been long term sustainable in many attributes, including the duck skin whose crispy outer coating is a treasure all unto itself, for who dares remove duck skin? The idea itself even sounds preposterous.
The difference between the cooked Magret vs. the Duck Leg is that the Magret is then thinly sliced as a steak which is kind of like having to share the skin, where with the duck leg (which also requires little adornment) you get a whole big piece of crispy skin all to yourself.
The Magret is particularly easy to cook, and in particular because its preparation is one of those few whose recipe for the most part is always cooked in the same fashion.
You simply score the top fat part of the breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then fat side down place the breast into the pan, no oil is required, for the duck shall produce its own.
Cooking the duck on the very lowest heat for 8 minutes will produce a golden crispy crust at which point you simply turn the breast over and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. The only personal thought process involved is how done you would like to cook it. In my case, I prefer the duck a bit more cooked to medium rare so I finish it off in the oven preheated at 350 degrees, absolutely no longer than two to three minutes, before removing the duck to a cutting board to rest for five minutes before its carving.
Having mentioned Magret Duck Breast as a steak brings me to a brilliant story on the Dartagnan website on the invention of the Magret Duck Breast Steak which was founded by a two-star Michelin Chef at the Hotel de France in Auch named Chef Andre Daguin.
Guess who he was? The founder of Dartagnan. Not unlike the history on the accidental invention of French fries, in this case, one day a customer went to the Hotel de France for a late lunch but there were hardly any ingredients left to prepare such a fine meal, well, all except a tray of uncooked Magret’s readied to confit.
Snatching one off of the tray Chef Daguin seared it up rare the customer apparently loved it, shared it with a couple of other customers who concurred, and voila! the rest of Magret Duck Breast prepared and sliced as a steak is international culinary history, transformed today for all to enjoy, provided you don’t misplace them in your freezer.
An elegant meal Magret Duck Breast, brandied peaches and cherries sauces.
- 2 Magret Duck Breasts (see Dartagnan.com )
- couple small pinches each side coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 4 tablespoon peach sauce
- 4 teaspoons cherry sauce
- fresh mint for garnish
- For the Peach Sauce:
- 2 peaches, peeled, pitted, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- pinch coarse kosher salt
- For the Cherries Sauce:
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- Preparing the Magret Duck: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly score the duck fat all across, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Place duck breasts fat side down in a large sized saute pan and cook on the lowest heat for 8 minutes until crispy golden browned, turn breast over and cook another 2-3 minutes. For more- cooked to medium rare, set duck in pan straight into the oven for an additional two to three minutes Remove ducks from pan and place onto a cutting board to rest for five minutes. Slice steaks
- Preparing the Peach Sauce: Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan on the very lowest heat, stirring frequently and mashing down the peaches, continue stirring frequently to a smooth paste, around fifteen minutes
- Preparing the Cherries Sauce: Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan on the very lowest heat and cook, stirring frequently until thickened, around fifteen minutes
- Assembly: Arrange duck slices on a plate alongside the peach and cherries sauces, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint