Liberty Duck with Sweet Potato Hash & Cherry Jam
Cooking duck breasts, it turns out, is easy! A first for me, and for my friend Deborah who kindly volunteered her kitchen. The only advice I have other than pouring wine early on is to put all bird dogs outside! Duck in the kitchen, well, took some blame for much misbehavior by the Brittany spaniel of the house.
Our recipe was provided by Michael Tuohy, chef of GRANGE Restaurant at the Citizen Hotel. Chef Michael, formerly of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta recalled this recipe he contributed to “Atlanta Cooks,” as a good pairing candidate for Virage red. Sweet potato and duck… earthy, warm, rich dark flavors, it sounded delicious. So we’re testing for the upcoming recipe section on the soon-to-be-done Virage website.
Cherry jam I did the night before –super easy. Pop into a small saucepan: dried cherries, port, lemon, balsamic and some water to cover and simmer. Next time, I wouldn’t sweeten the jam as much for serving with Virage. Since it is not a high-alcohol style Napa Valley wine, I don’t really want anything too sweet on the plate. As the rule with dessert wines goes, your wine needs to be “sweeter” than the food or the wine may taste harsh. Virage, for example, is great with bittersweet chocolate desserts.
Then pan-fry that duck in its own delicious fat while sautéing up the hash to get some good browning. With the duck, chef starts skin-side down to render much of the fat away, then into the oven and back out to flip over and finish. Seems this maximizes fat rendering and skin crispiness while cooking the breast through. Clever chef!