Duck with Thyme Infused Honey Balsamic Pan Sauce

duck 04102007655

Lunch.  Had a duck breast remaining from last week's visit to the supermarket.  Vacuum packed, which lasts quite a while in my (very cold) fridge, but it was time to use it or lose it.  I thought… hmm, thyme  [actually I thought tomillo which is Spanish for 'thyme'] - a quick search of the internet produced an interesting hit at a public radio website. A brief read through and I was off to the kitchen to do something similar although I didn't actually follow their recipe. That's the way to go; read a couple of recipes for inspiration and then go get creative.

The "modern" style of naming of dishes is too wordy and overly descriptive but "duck with sauce" is rather underdescriptive; it's a dilemma.

On to the recipe - which is, now that I look at it, quite similar to the coriander one I did the other day,

Duck with Thyme Infused Honey Balsamic Pan Sauce

Serves: 2
  • ½ C chicken stock (or duck, if you've got it)
  • 1 duck breast, 300 gr [10 oz]
  • salt, coarse
  • pepper, black, freshly ground
  • sugar, a pinch or two (this may well be superfluous)
  • duck trimmings
  • 1 garlic clove, slightly crushed
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 t thyme, dried
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  1. Boil the chicken stock rapidly until it's practically thick - it'll be less than a ¼ cup
    • meanwhile…
  2. Clean the duck up; removing any silverskin (thin membrane on the surface), excess (hanging over the edges) fat and score the fat side (prevents curling) 
    • Save all the trimmings (for later); especially the fat - it's delicious
  3. Sprinkle pepper, salt and sugar on both sides of the duck breast - set aside
  4. Put the duck trimmings and garlic into the pan you'll be cooking the duck breast in and crank the heat to melt/cook the fat.
    • preferably not a non-stick pan
  5. Put honey and thyme into a very small saucepan, bring (just barely) to a boil and set aside to "infuse"
    • Now we'll get to the "cooking" part
  6. Dump everything out of the cooking pan, pour off excess fat (don't wipe the pan clean though - we want the tasty bits that will be stuck to the bottom
  7. On medium-high heat; or high if you're semi-professional
  8. toss in the duck - fat side down
    • probably 3 minutes
  9. Pour the reduced chicken stock into the honey-thyme infusion - reduce until it coats the back of a spoon - set aside (again)
  10. Turn duck
    • probably 3 minutes more
  11. Paint some honey-thyme sauce on both sides of the duck and cook for 30 seconds each side to glaze the beast
  12. Remove duck to a plate
  13. Pour off fat from the pan through a strainer and put the strained bits back into the pan
  14. pour in balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pan (scraping up the good bits left behind from the cooking)
    • reducing until it's saucy (coats the back of a spoon)
  15. add the honey-thyme infusion to the pan and reduce
  16. add in the juices that seeped out of the duck while it was resting - reduce for the final time
  17. cut the duck into thin diagonal slices and fan out on a couple of plates
  18. strain the sauce and drizzle over the duck


  1. Duck should still be pink in the center when it's cooked - with a crispy skin

Did you notice that the pictures now have a little watermark in the lower left corner with the web site's name?  I'm using Windows Live Writer to post to the blog and it has a few interesting functions like that built right in.

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