Roasted Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce

Courtesy of Chef Malcolm Jessop, Chef at Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francsico, California and Jeff Meier, Winemaker at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

Serves 4

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups refrigerated pomegranate juice (such as POM)
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 large dried California chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • coarse Kosher salt

Stir sugar and water in a heavy, large saucepan, over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, swirling the pan occasionally (about 8 minutes). Add the juice, broth, and California chiles, and boil until the sauce is reduced to 1½ cups (about 25 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool. Purée in a tightly-covered blender for about 2 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in adobo sauce, vinegar and cumin. Season to taste with generous amounts of coarse salt and pepper. (Re-warm over low heat before plating.)

Duck

  • 4 boneless duck breast halves (5 to 6 oz each), skin and fat trimmed to size of breast
  • coarse Kosher salt
  • ground coriander
  • fresh pomegranate seeds (as a garnish)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat the duck dry with paper towels, then score the skin of the duck (don’t cut into the flesh) with 5 cuts in 1 direction. Repeat in the opposite direction, making a diamond pattern. Sprinkle the duck all over with coarse salt, pepper and ground coriander. Place two large ovenproof skillets over medium-high heat. Add the duck, skin-side down, to skillets, dividing equally. Cook the duck approximately 5 minutes, until the skin is crisp and deep brown. Turn the duck over and cook 1 minute. Pour off fat, then transfer the skillets to the oven. Roast the duck until cooked to medium-rare (about 5 minutes).

Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice each breast crosswise on a slight diagonal. Arrange the slices on the plates, spoon the sauce over the duck, and then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Savor with a fruit-forward glass of J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir!