Recipe Match for Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Charlie Palmer's Duck Breast with Citrus Couscous

Recipe courtesy of Charlie Palmer, chef-owner of Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners Aureole and Charlie Palmer Steak, among others

For the duck breast:

  • 4 boneless duck breast halves, 6-8 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground juniper berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Chartreuse
  • Salt
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 small orange
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

For the couscous:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups couscous
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

To make the duck breast:

1. Remove the skin from each duck breast half and reserve.

2. Place the skinless breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Add the oil, lemon zest, juniper berries and pepper, plus 1 tablespoon of the Chartreuse.

3. Seal the bag and vigorously massage to evenly coat the breasts with the seasoning. Set aside for 30 minutes. (Take care not to leave the duck in the marinade for more than 30 minutes.)

4. Place the duck skin in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until all of the fat has rendered out and the skin is very crisp. Transfer the skin to a double layer of paper towels to drain. Once drained, break into small pieces and set aside.

5. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the duck fat and return the pan to medium-high heat. Save the duck fat to use as a delicious butter or oil substitute in future recipes.

6. Remove the breasts from the marinade, season with salt and place in the hot pan. Sear, turning once, for about 6 minutes.

7. Place the breasts on a warm plate and tent lightly with aluminum foil to keep warm while you finish the sauce.

8. Lower the heat under the pan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of Chartreuse, stirring for about a minute or so to deglaze the pan. Add the orange juice and butter, stirring to blend well. Add the cream, raise the heat slightly and bring to a simmer.

9. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until reduced and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest and chives.

To make the couscous:

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or just until softened.

2. Add the stock along with the orange and lemon juices. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Immediately add the couscous and return to a boil.

3. Lower the heat to its lowest possible setting, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

4. Uncover, add the lemon zest and use a fork to fluff the grains and incorporate the zest.

To plate the duck breast and couscous:

Place a mound of couscous on the side of each warm dinner plate. Using a sharp knife and working with one piece at a time, cut the breast crosswise, keeping the breast intact as you cut. When ready to plate, put your knife under the sliced breast and, using your other hand to hold the top together, transfer to the center of the couscous on each plate. Once plated, pull the knife back towards you so that the breast stays in place, but the slices open slightly.

Drizzle the pan sauce over each breast, the couscous and around the edge of the plate. Garnish with a few pieces of the crisp duck breast skin, sprinkled over all. Serves 4.

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