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Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Spiced Candied Kumquat Sauce

This elegant and sophisticated spin on Duck L’Orange offers a complex combination of sweet, savory, and sour flavors over rich, meaty duck breasts. The candied kumquats may be made several days ahead.


Recipe Details

  1. For the kumquats combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook 1 minute. Stir in the kumquats, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, 20-22 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve reserving 3/4 cup of the syrup.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the wine, shallots, garlic, star anise pods, cinnamon stick and black peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in the orange juice and return to a boil, reduce liquid to 1 1/4 cups about 5-6 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, return to a boil and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 12-14 minutes; strain through a sieve and discard the solids.
  4. With a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts diagonally to create a1/2-inch-wide diamond pattern. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Season the duck with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the duck to the skillet, skin side down, and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer the duck to a baking sheet. Set duck in the oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 125°F for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and let rest, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes.
  5. While the duck is in the oven, pour off all but 1 tablespoon duck fat from the skillet. Heat the pan over medium and add the sauce mixture and reserved kumquat syrup; bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the kumquats and butter until melted; season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Cut the duck crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve topped with the kumquat sauce.

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