CAJUN DUCK BREAST WITH BLACKBERRY GINGER SAUCE OVER TWO TATER MASH
The Potato Mash:
3-pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 ½-pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 ½ cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
2 ½ cups blackberries
½ cup blackberry brandy
½ cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8, 7-ounce duck breasts
3 tablespoons Dish off the Block Ragin’ Cajun Spice Blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the peeled potatoes into large, evenly sized, chunks about 3”. Place in a large metal pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are all tender when pierced with a fork, stirring occasionally so they cook evenly. Drain in a colander and place back in the pot. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and ¾ cup of the milk. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides periodically and slowly adding additional milk as needed to create a creamy texture. Cover and set aside until ready to plate.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the ginger until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the blackberries and the brandy to the pan. Cook, mashing the berries with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the consistency is even. Bring to a low boil. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small boil and stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Add this mixture to the saucepan. Cook at a low boil stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer and reduce while you prepare the duck.
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 and then the other way, making a criss-cross pattern. Take care to only cut through the skin and do not cut into the meat under the skin. This will allow the fat to render and create a crispy skin.
Season the duck breasts on both sides with the Cajun seasoning. Place the seasoned breasts, skin-side down, in a COLD cast iron skillet that has been drizzled with the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium high and let the breasts cook until the skin is crispy brown and most of the fat has rendered from under the skin, about 5-7 minutes. Flip to the flesh side and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain the fat from the pan (reserve the rendered fat for future use). Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the internal temperature in the center of the breasts registers 130-135 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let the breasts rest for 15minutes.
Slice each breast across the grain into medallions and serve over the potato mash and top with lots of the blackberry sauce and a few of the remaining ½ cup of berries. Serve with steamed peas, roasted asparagus, or a simple salad.