Duck Breast with Pomegranate Molasses

D'Artagnan chef bio | Yield: Serves 4
Wild game chef Tony Caggiano shared his recipe for seared duck breast. The crisp skin, and deep, almost wild flavor of Muscovy duck pairs well with the tartness of the simple pomegranate molasses sauce, which can be made ahead.
Duck Breast with Pomegranate Molasses

Ingredients

For the Duck Breast

For the Pomegranate Molasses

  • 4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)

Preparation

  1. To make the sauce, place a saucepan on medium heat, add the pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for about 1 hour. Stir every few minutes, testing the consistency of the liquid until it reduces to a syrupy consistency.
  3. Once the molasses has reached the desired consistency, remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl or jar. Set aside to cool. Molasses can be jarred and stored in the refrigerator for later use.
  4. Lightly score the skin on the duck breasts, in one direction (not cross-hatch), being careful not to cut into the meat. Muscovy breasts have less fat than other duck breasts, so minimum scoring will preserve the fat to impart delicious, rich, flavor to the cooked breasts.
  5. Salt and pepper both sides of the duck breasts.
  6. Place the breasts, skin side down, in a cold skillet, preferably cast iron if possible, and turn the heat to medium-high.
  7. Sear the skin on the breast, rendering the fat out. As it is cooking, remove some of the fat with a spoon, to reserve it for later use. Removing the fat allows to the skin to render nicely, as opposed to frying.
  8. Continue cooking until the skin is crispy and golden. With Muscovy breasts, this usually takes 5 to 8 minutes.
  9. Once the skin is crispy, flip the breasts and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 129-130 degrees.
  10. Remove breasts to a platter, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The internal temp of the meat will continue to rise, to approximately 135 degrees, which should be a nice medium-rare.
  11. While the breasts rest, remove the duck fat from the pan, and add it to your jar for future recipes.