I love duck. I love the slight gaminess, almost a cross between chicken and beef, but totally not. It's it's own ducky thing. The problem is, my wife has always hated it; or so she thought, until today. She would never let me cook duck in the house, because I made it once while she was pregnant and she got sick from the smell, but in all fairness, she got sick from almost EVERYTHING while she was prego.... so thats not a very good indicator anyway. Nevertheless, she LOVED this dish.
I found this website, http://www.kolfoods.com/ that sells really high quality Glatt Kosher grass-fed beef and lamb, and organic, humanely and sustainably-raised poultry (hows that for buzz words). So I ordered a bunch of stuff from there including these duck breasts. Experiments with the rest of my order from Kol Foods coming soon (duck liver, lamb sausage, really thick rib eye steaks). Exciting stuff, so go over to the ROCK THIS ONION Facebook Page and "LIKE" it so you can keep up with the updates.
The rutabega mash is a large rutabega and a large Russet potato, both peeled, cut into chunks and boiled until tender in salted water and mashed with some olive oil (and/or butter and cream if you like).
A gastrique is a sauce that starts with a caramel mixed with vinegar and a flavoring of you choice. Here, I used apple cider vinegar and pomegranate juice, but feel free to experiment with other vinegars, juices, fruits etc.
In a saucepan, add a 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water and heat over medium-low. The edges will begin to brown a little and the sugar will melt. Keep stirring so the sugar doesn't burn. Once the sugar is melted and turns a light amber color, add equal parts vinegar to sugar (1/2 cup in this case) and stir. The sugar is going to immediately clump up into a ball, but will eventually melt back into a liquid. keep stirring. Once it turns back into a liquid, add the juice of your choice and stir. Reduce that till syrupy. Keep in mind that it will get thicker as it cools. Don't let it get to thick, otherwise it will harden on your plate. If it gets too thick, add a little more juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I rubbed the duck breasts with juniper berries, sea salt and black pepper that I bashed up in a mortar in pestle, with some orange zest; but before that, the breasts need to be cleaned, which is a little bit of a pain. I used a small pairing knife to pull any straggling feathers out of the skin. I found out after the fact that if you dunk it into some boiling water, it makes it easier to pull out the feathers and those little tubes that the feathers come out of. Once cleaned, I scored the skin in a crosshatch pattern to make sure all the fat is able to render out of the skin while it's cooking. I placed the breasts skin side down in a cast iron pan on medium heat (not hot) which will give the skin a chance to give up the fat as the pan heats up. Cook on the skin side for about 10 minutes or so, or until the skin is nicely brown and shrunk down significantly, periodically pouring off excess fat. Flip it over and cook on the meat side for about a minute. You want it medium/medium rare. Keep that duck fat so you can cook other things with it.
While the duck is resting, quickly saute the chanterelles. You can even do it in a little reserved duck fat for some added flavor.