Duck Breasts, Parsnip purée & a Cranberry wine sauce

Duck is one of the most popular meats in many restaurants today. It is a tasty alternative to chicken and at this time of year it is an introductory step (for conservative eaters) to all the wonderful game meats that are now coming into season. 
The secret to cooking duck breast lies in dealing with the quite large amount of fat in the skin without ruining the meat. To address this: pour off the fat after you seal the skin-side leaving a beautifully delicious and crispy skin, before you turn the breast to seal the other side. Keep this fat, as it is delicious for roasting potatoes.
I recommend that you treat your duck breast as you would a steak and cook it to the same degree that you would eat a steak- but please don’t over-cook your meat!

Duck Breasts with parsnip purée & cranberry wine sauce

My Ingredients:
500ml Red Wine
1/2 chicken stock cube mixed in 200ml boiling water
2tbls cranberry sauce
4 Irish Duck Breasts
3 Parsnips
50g Real Butter
a little olive oil
salt & black pepper
A few trimmed heads of Broccoli
My Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
2. Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce by two thirds.  Add liquid stock and reduce by half, add the cranberry sauce and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon butter (this will give your sauce a wonderful shine and extra flavour) and season to your taste.
3. Trim the sinew off the meaty side of the duck breast and score the skin with a sharp knife. Rub a little salt and black pepper into the skin, this will also help to make it even crispier.
4. Prepare the parsnip purée by peeling the parsnips and cutting them into chunks. Boil in salted water, cooking until tender. Drain and add a little butter & white pepper. Mash until smooth. If you wish you can use a hand blender to make the puree very smooth like you would get in a restaurant. Keep it hot under a lid.
5. I like to serve a little broccoli with this dish and I would steam the broccoli now, over the parsnips while they are cooking. Keep the broccoli hot under a little tin foil.
6. Heat a heavy metal frying pan with a little butter and olive oil.  The oil will help keep the butter from burning. Place the duck breasts on the hot pan skin side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes until crisp and golden brown, gently pour off the fat and turn the breasts to seal in the other side for another minute. 
7. Transfer the pan to the oven (or place the duck on a baking tray if your pan is not completely metal) and cook for approximately another 6-8 minutes for medium. You can adjust this time depending on your preference.
8. Remove the duck breasts from the oven and cover with a dry cloth to let them rest for 3 or 4 minutes. When you cook any meat, it is essential to let it rest for a little bit before you carve it. This ensures that all the juices that are under pressure during the cooking are redistributed throughout the whole piece. As a result, less juice runs out of the meat when you cut into it.
9. To serve, slice the duck breast and sit it on top of the broccoli. Garnish with the parsnip puree and cranberry gravy.
If you wish, you can take another peeled parsnip, cut it into thin strips with a veg peeler and drop into some hot oil, as you would when making chips. Take them out after 20 seconds just as they start to colour and dry on some kitchen paper. They will go crispy and you can arrange these on top of your duck for that extra specialPublish Post touch!
Don’t forget to Feed the Fish at the bottom of this Post!

About IrishFoodGuide

Zack Gallagher. News about Food in Ireland, Food Producers & Irish Food Tourism. Chef, Food Blogger, Failte Ireland Food Ambassador. On the #WildAtlanticWay @IrishFoodGuide on Twitter
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