One of the lovely things about France is that some of the luxury food items that are difficult to find or expensive, or both, at home are much more manageable here. I love duck breast, but have never made it at home. I bought a duck breast the other day, wanting to attempt a duck with figs that I had eaten some time ago. Sadly, we had eaten the wonderful figs from the market in Paris, and the ones I've been seeing in Burgundy have been shriveled and dry looking.
On our drive on Monday, we had scored several varieties of cherries from a roadside stand. They were amazing, black, with a depth of flavor like no cherry I'd ever had. I thought they'd be good with the duck.
Since I had no stock in the freezer, I made short-cuts. The French bouillion powder isn't bad, so I made up 2 cups worth. I let it simmer for a while with some chopped shallots for flavor, and a sliced potato to soak up the excess salt. After it cooked down a bit and tasted OK, I removed the potatoes and added some red wine, a Givry.
I sliced the skin and fat off the duck breast. If I'd been at home I would probably done something with that skin and fat--maybe rendered it for cooking potatoes? But being in the house for only another few days, I horrified any French grandmothers in the neighborhood by throwing it out.
Heated a pan, threw in a little butter and some chopped shallots. Added the duck, seared it on both sides. Removed the duck, and added about a cup of the broth-wine mixture. Threw in a shot of Sauternes and about a cup of halved cherries. Let everything bubble, added a bit more butter to enrich things and shock Larry. Sliced the very rare duck as best I could, after cursing at every dull cooking knife in the house. Put the sliced duck into the pan, let the sauce further cook the duck for just a moment, and served with mashed potatoes.
And it was good.