Many Pinot Noirs have berry nuances, so it only makes sense cook with blueberries into an easy yet luxurious pan sauce. A gamey duck breast is the perfect foil, bringing to the table a flawless balance of savory, tart and sweet. Trim a good amount of the duck fat from beneath the skin and freeze for use another day. Toss whatever fat renders out during searing with par-cooked potatoes, then roast at 500°F til crisp for the perfect side dish.
4 duck breasts, skin on, trimmed of excess fat until only 1/4” remains
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, minced
1 cup pinot noir
1/2 cup thawed frozen blueberries with reserved juices
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place a large ovenproof saute pan over high heat. Pat the duck breasts dry on both sides using paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of the pan with a scant amount of oil and add duck, skin side down. Reduce heat to medium and cook until skin is deep caramel brown, about three minutes. Flip duck and move pan to the oven to roast until the thickest part of the breast reads 125°F with an instant-read thermometer, about 7-10 minutes. Remove to a plate, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest while you make the sauce.
Pour excess fat from the pan, leaving a bit to saute with. Return to medium-low heat and add the shallot, cooking for about two minutes until soft. Add the pinot noir, stock, and reserved blueberry juice and bring to boil. Reduce liquid by one-half.
Reduce heat to medium; add thyme, vinegar and any duck juice that has collected on the plate. Add butter a small piece at a time, whisking constantly until a velvety sauce forms. Add blueberries and stir until heated through.
To serve, slice duck breast on an angle and fan across a plate on top of duck fat roasted or mashed potatoes. Top with sauce. Serve immediately.