Prepare the breasts (actually, I could only afford one singular breast) by slicing several cuts into the skin and sprinkling it with pepper. Next up prepare a marinade for your duck. Rub it down with a mixture of salt, garlic, rosemary, and fennel seeds (all crushed together.) Set this aside to absorb the flavor goodness for about half an hour.
Using a black iron skillet or something equally heavy, brown the duck on all sides in some olive oil on the stove top.
Once it's browned, set the whole dish in a pre-heated oven and cook for about 20 minutes, rotating the duck once.
Once cooked, remove the breast to a dish and discard the fatty pan juices. Pour dry sherry into the skillet and put it back on the stovetop to deglaze the pan until the sherry has boiled down to just a few tablespoons. Slice the duck breast and pour the sauce over each serving.
This was hands down amazing, like something you'd expect to be served at a fancy pants restaurant. The skin was crackling and delicious but the meat was tender and juicy. If I were hosting Thanksgiving this year, I would make duck breasts with this exact recipe instead of turkey, it's that good. This one I'll definitely make again, once I save up my pennies.
With the duck, I served Bulgur Pilaf, which is pretty much exactly like rice pilaf, just using bulgur. You just sauté onions in olive oil and then add the bulgur, coating the grains with the remaining oil. Add in chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes (just to soften them) and then pour in simmering stock (I used chicken, because I like the flavors it provides) and salt. Then just simmer away, covered, until the stock has been mostly absorbed. Stir with parsley and serve.
This was pretty good (especially in the duck juices) but in general I think I prefer the texture of rice pilaf. Apologies for the lack of final product picture -- I snapped a couple of shots but there was too much steam from the straight-off-the-oven pilaf.
duck breast -- $14.16
Total Cost of Braised Duck with Wild Fennel: $14.16
($7.08 per serving)
onion -- $.85
tomato -- $1.09
chicken broth -- $2.50 (used 3/4 of it)
Total Cost of Bulgur Pilaf: $4.44
($.74 per serving)