Magrets de Canard au Costières du Gard

Duck Breasts with Red Wine

I first cooked this dish in the Languedoc and used the local Costières du Gard, but any well-made local red wine works well. If you are cooking in France you are probably drinking the local wine and so it is appropriate to cook with it too.

Ingredients

  • 4 duck breasts with skin
  • 100 g( oz) butter
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • bottle Costières du Gard
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • bouquet garni
  • 2 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • grated nutmeg
  • salt, milled pepper

Method

Trim the duck breasts until neatly shaped. Put the trimmings in a heavy-based pan with a knob of the butter and the carrots, onion and garlic. Stir over moderate heat until golden, and then add the wine, a wineglass full of water, the tomato purée, bouquet garni, juniper berries and cloves, and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about 150 ml(¼ pt). Strain through a nylon sieve, pressing lightly on the vegetables to extract all the flavour and just a little purée to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile sauté the duck breasts in a heavy pan, skin side down, until the fat runs. Brown the meat on each side and then cook skin side down for 10–15 minutes.

Pour off surplus fat (keep all the duck fat produced by this dish for cooking potatoes on another occasion) and make a series of neat cuts into the skin only of the duck. Cook for 5 minutes to release any more duck fat. Then transfer the duck to a hot serving dish and pour off the rest of the duck fat.

Pour the wine sauce into the pan and stir well to incorporate all the pan juices. Season with grated nutmeg, salt and milled pepper. Add the remainder of the butter in small pieces and remove from the heat. Shake the pan to melt the butter into the sauce and spoon over the duck.

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