Oh, how I've longed for this dish. The moment I opened up Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Meat Book, I’ve been eyeing that picture of duck breasts bubblin’ in a hot skillet with pineapple. I certainly had nothing to fear after trying his pork chop recipe last week. But I was worried about the timing. I am having a busy week and have no time to stand around putting together what looks like a fantastic meal that could very well take hours to prepare. Fortunately, I threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a shot. If it could get done in an hour, then I’d write about it. If not, then I’d have a tasty failure.
The recipe definitely teeters on the edge of not being a comfortable weeknight meal. But it can be done in an hour if you are organized and quick. I also managed to have everything at home except the duck and the pineapple, so I didn’t have to contend with a bad trip to the market to scrounge up various exotic substances. The hearty duck and sweet tang of the pineapple create the perfect ying and yang of the dish. But it was all the ingredients in my cupboard that created the massive flavor. It might not be a practical dish for a really busy night, but it can be done and is utterly delicious.
- 2 boneless duck breasts
- 1/2 pineapple
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 green onions
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon Canola oil
- Pinch of sugar
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Peel the pineapple and chop, removing the tough core. Squeeze half of the pieces into a bowl with your hands, discarding the pulp. Save the other half.
In the same bowl as the pineapple juice, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and black pepper. Whisk until combined.
Cut three slits into the duck skin, while not piercing the meat. Then drop into the marinade and let sit for however long you have. Hugh says even a scant 10 minutes will help.
Heat the 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Take the duck breasts out of the marinade, saving as much of the liquid as possible, rubbing the excess off, and sear in the skillet for just a minute on each side.
Transfer to a small baking dish that tightly fit the meat. Pour the excess oil off the skillet and set aside. Then pour the marinade over the meat and cook for 10 minutes.
When done, remove the meat and set aside. Heat the skillet the seared the duck over medium high heat, add the other half of the pineapple, sprinkle with a little sugar, and cook until a little browned.
Strain the marinade into the skillet, reduce until syrupy, about 4-5 minutes. Pour the syrup and pineapple over the meat, and serve up.