Roasted Duck Breast with Dirty Quinoa, Pine Nuts, and Dried Cherries

TOTAL TIME: 50 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Cook: 20 min
YIELD: 4 servings


  • Duck
  • 4 airline-cut duck breasts with fat
  • Salt
  • 1 duck liver, cleaned
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Quinoa
  • Reserved bones from 1 duck, roasted
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) fat
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
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For the duck:
Let the duck breasts come to room temperature. Season both sides with salt. Score the skin of the duck in with cross-hatch marks. Place the duck breasts, fat-side down into a saute pan over medium-low heat and render out the fat, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Sear the duck breasts in batches, if needed. Flip the breasts and continue to cook for about another 5 minutes until medium to medium-rare. Remove from the pan and allow to rest.

Season 1 liver with salt and pepper, add extra-virgin olive oil to the rendered duck fat in the same pan and saute for about 1 minute on the first side and 30 seconds on the second. Remove from the pan and let rest for a bit. Before serving chop and add to the quinoa.

For the quinoa:
Add the roasted duck bones to the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook's Note: This will help to add more flavor to the base of the quinoa. Taste the stock and add salt, if needed.

Place a medium pot over medium heat and add 2 ounces fat, 1 shallot, and garlic and sweat for about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and toast, about 1 minute, stirring to ensure the quinoa is coated in fat. Once toasted, add 2 cups seasoned chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed.

Meanwhile, place a small saucepan over medium heat, add red wine and the dried cherries and allow the cherries to soak up the wine and reconstitute for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the reconstituted cherries, their liquid, toasted pine nuts, orange zest and orange juice to the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the freshly picked tarragon leaves and the chopped liver and toss to combine. Keep over the heat until all the liquid is absorbed.

For plating:
Drizzle the watercress with extra-virgin olive oil and toss to combine.

For each serving, slice the duck breast on the bias and place next to a mound of quinoa. Drizzle the plate with extra-virgin olive oil. Place some of the dressed watercress on the plate and season with sea salt.




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