APRICOT-TURMERIC GLAZED DUCK BREASTS WITH WILD RICE AND BUTTERNUT CASSEROLE
The Wild Rice and Butternut Casserole:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
5-ounces pancetta, diced
5-ounces shitake mushrooms, caps sliced and stems discarded
1-pound butternut squash, cut into ½” cubes
1-inch turmeric root, grated on a microplane (or ½ teaspoon dried turmeric)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup dried cranberries
3 cups cooked wild rice or wild rice blend
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
8, 7-8-ounce boneless duck breasts, skin-on
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons fresh turmeric root, peeled and grated on a microplane (or 2 teaspoons dry)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated on a microplane
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the rice casserole, heat the oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and continue cooking until the fat begins to render.
Add the mushrooms, squash, and turmeric to the pan and toss to combine. Cover the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork and all of the veg is lightly browned.
Add the salt, black pepper, dried cranberries, and rice to the pan and toss everything together.
Prepare a 9” x 13” pan with non-stick spray and transfer the rice mixture to the pan.
Bake for 10 -15 minutes until hot. Garnish with parsley.
Dry the duck breasts thoroughly with paper towels and trim any excess fat, leaving skin intact. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breast in parallel diagonal slashes about 1” apart, taking care, not to cut the flesh under the skin. This will allow the fat to render and create a crispy skin.
Liberally season the breasts on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place them, skin-side-down in a COLD cast iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium and let the breasts cook until the skin is crispy brown and most of the fat has rendered, about 8-10minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. Flip to the flesh side and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Combine the apricot preserves, turmeric, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring until the preserves are melted and begin to bubble, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
Drain the fat from the pan and place it in the oven. Cook the breasts for 4-5 minutes until the internal temperature of the breasts is 120 degrees. Remove and brush about 2/3 of the glaze over the tops of the duck breasts. Return to the oven for another 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature of the breasts is 130 degrees. Remove, tent with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting into medallions. Drizzle the remaining glaze and serve with the wild rice and butternut casserole (recipe follows).