Pan-Roasted Sonoma Duck Breast With Mascarpone Polenta And Blackberry Gastrique

Pairs Perfectly with Rodney Strong 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir

Recipe by Chef Josh Silvers

Mascarpone Polenta
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup polenta
1⁄4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Duck Breasts
2 duck breasts, about 1 1⁄2 pounds total, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon peanut oil

Blackberry Gastrique
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons blackberry vinegar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1⁄2 cup fresh blackberries

For the polenta: In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, cream, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually stir in the polenta in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly until very thick and soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone, Parmesan, and butter. Set aside and keep warm.

For the duck: Preheat the oven to 450°F.  With a sharp knife, lightly score the duck skin in a diamond pattern and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a large ovenproof skillet and add the duck, skin side down. Place over high heat and cook, draining the fat periodically, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the duck over again, transfer the pan to the oven, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate (reserving the pan for the gastrique), tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

For the gastrique: Discard all but 2 teaspoons of the excess fat from the pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle in the sugar. Cook until caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and vinegar and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook to reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cold butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the black-berries. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

To serve, thinly slice the duck against the grain. Spoon a mound of polenta into the center of each of 4 serving plates. Top with duck slices and the blackberry gastrique, and serve. Makes 4 main-course servings

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