- 4 Magret duck breasts, about 8 ounces each
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ cup rendered duck fat or olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¾ cup Brut Rose sparkling wine
- ¾ cup duck stock or chicken stock
- 12 small mission figs, halved
- 2 tablespoons raw, local, honey
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat a water bath to 135°F/57°C.
Score the fatty side of the duck breast being careful not to cut into the meat. Season the breasts with salt and pepper and transfer the duck breast to a vacuum pouch, add the thyme and the olive oil and seal it. (You may also use a heavy duty resealable freezer bag and use the water displacement method.)
Place the duck in the water bath and cook for 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Once the duck reaches an internal temperature of at least 140°F remove it from the water bath. At this point, the duck can be completely cooled and refrigerated for 2 to 3 weeks or frozen up to 6 months.
Remove the duck breasts from the pouch and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, place the ducks skin side down in the pan and cook until the skin has rendered most of its fat and is brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the duck over and quickly sear the other side, about 30 seconds. Transfer the duck to a platter and loosely tent with aluminum foil while making the sauce.
To make the sauce, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, stock, figs, honey and thyme and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter in pieces, stirring constantly to incorporate all the butter. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Return the duck breasts to the pan with any accumulated pan juices and cook over low heat until the duck is warmed through, about 1 minute.
Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and carve each breast into thin slices. Serve the duck breasts with the figs and sauce.
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