Magret de Canard is duck breast from the Moulard (Mulard, in French) breed of ducks (The Moulard is a cross between the White Pekin and the Muscovy duck.). On the table, moulards have a deeper, richer, beefier flavor. But its not just the breed that gives these breast their rich flavor - magret generally refers specifically to the breast of moulard ducks that have been raised on the foie gras plan.
Basic Magret de Canard (Duck Breast) Recipe
Follow these steps and you'll master duck breast cooking. It's not hard to learn the proper technique and to be mindful of cooking time and meat temperature. If you go to a good restaurant, they won't ask you how you want your meat cooked. Duck breast should always be served medium rare (saignant in French). It should be pink inside, tender and juicy. If you over cook it, it will be too harsh.
- Score the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern as shown on the picture.
- Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat. You don't need any butter or oil (the fat from the skin will take care of that). Pat the duck breast dry and place it skin side down. Sear for 5 minutes.
- Remove the magret and place it on a platter. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the skin.
- Discard the fat from the pan. Sprinkle the meat side with salt and pepper and return the duck to the pan (breast this time skin side up). Cook it for 4 minutes.
- Brush the skin with honey and cook it for 1 more minute skin side down so as to brown it. To be sure that it's cook medium rare, use the following trick. Touch your middle finger to the tip of your thumb, feel the resistance. Now poke the duck breast, the resistance should be the same. Try it, it's not that hard
- Remove the magret from the pan and place it in a warm platter skin side up and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the duck diagonally and serve it with the sauce of your choice.
Now - Serve plain or Add Sauces if Desired:
Magret de Canard a l'Orange
- 2 Duck Breast prepared as above
- 2 Juice from oranges
- 1 orange sliced and peeled
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- salt and pepper
Remove all the fat from the pan, but do not clean it.
Deglaze the pan with the orange juice.
Add the sugar, orange slices and Cointreau. Cook until the juices are caramelized, about 10 minutes at medium heat.
Add the Magrets back to the pan and let it cook for another 10 minutes basting them with the juices.
When they are ready, let them rest for 5 minutes then slice them and pour the juices on top
Magret de Canard with Cherry Reduction Sauce
A cherry reduction sauce is perfect with duck. You can start making this sauce before you cook the duck.
- 1 T butter
- 1 T olive oil
- ¼ cup shallots, minced
- ¼ cup cherry preserves
- 3 T sherry or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup Brandy
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-size skillet, heat the oil and butter until they are sizzling. Add the minced shallots and sauté until they are just brown and almost caramelized. Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan turn down the heat to medium and add the cherry preserves, the vinegar and the brandy. Stir them thoroughly and gently simmer for about 5 minutes.
Now return the cooked shallots to the pan and stir them into the cherry blend until they are completely reheated. Spoon directly on top of the prepared duck breast. Serve immediately.
Magrets de Canard aux Pommes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 4 Firm Apples, Sliced
- 1 cup Calvados (Apple Brandy)
- Melt butter in a separate skillet over high heat. Add apples; cook and stir until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; pour in Calvados. Cook and stir over low heat, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until alcohol evaporates, about 1 minute.
- Serve duck breasts with Calvados sauce.
Grilled Magret de Canard
- 4 magret de canard (duck breast)
- 8 tbs Balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbs Dijon-style mustard
- 3 tsp juniper berries (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns or 1 tsp black pepper
- 8 tsp fresh thyme
- 8 cloves garlic
- 4 tbs walnut oil
- Cross-hatch fat on duck
- Crush juniper berries and peppercorns.
- Mince garlic.
- Mix all ingredients (except duck) in a small bowl. Pour over duck and rub into cuts. Set aside until ready to cook. (For more flavor can be done 2 - 3 hours ahead of time. Refrigerate until 20 minutes before ready to cook)
- When ready, cook duck breast on barbecue starting fat side down for 5 minutes.
- With long tongs turn breast over and continue cooking another 3 - 5 minutes. If there is any fat left on fat side put fat side down for a minute to burn off.
- Remove from heat and take a peak (stick knife in center and make a cut). If done to your liking let rest 5 minutes.
- If not put back on barbecue for 2 minutes. When ready, cut in slices about 1/4" (.65cm) thick and serve.