Duck Breast with Gorgonzola Pear Risotto and Cherry Port Sauce

2010 Video Recipe Contest 2nd Runner-Up, Billy Norris
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Prep Time {27 min}

Cook Time {1 hr 50 min }

Serving Size {2 servings}


2 Maple Leaf Farms Boneless Duck Breasts, thawed if frozen

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper

1/2 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg


1 Shallot, minced

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. Duck Fat (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Unsalted Butter)

1 cup Dry White Wine

1-1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli Rice

6 cups Duck or Chicken Stock (low-sodium if store-bought), reserve 1 cup for sauce

4 oz. Gorgonzola or Other Sharp Blue Cheese

2 cups Fresh Arugula


2 Bartlett Pears, peeled, cored and cut into 4 wedges each

2 Tbsp. Butter

1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar


1 Shallot, minced

1 strip of Orange Zest

1-1/2 cups Pitted Bing Cherries

1 cup Port Wine (or other sweet/fortified wine such as Sherry or Madeira)

Reserved Duck or Chicken Stock

2 Tbsp. Butter


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1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Score each duck breast, if not already scored, to aid in rendering the fat. Season breasts on both sides with kosher salt, black pepper and grating of fresh nutmeg.

3. Place in cold stainless steel pan. Gently bring heat up to low. Maintain the low heat so the fat will render slowly and the skin will crisp. As the fat renders, pour out of the pan and reserve for later use. Keep increasing the heat gradually until you reach medium low and the skin is well-browned. Remove breasts.

4. While the duck fat renders, begin the risotto. Bring 6 cups of stock to a low simmer in a sauce pan.

5. Sauté the shallot in the duck fat over medium heat in a pot until softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.

6. Add the rice and sauté until translucent (approximately 1 minute).

7. Deglaze the pot with white wine. Once the rice has absorbed the liquid and looks syrupy, begin by adding enough stock to cover the rice (3 ladles should do).

8. Once the initial 3 ladles of stock are absorbed, continue adding stock 1 ladle at a time. Add another ladle after the rice has absorbed each previous one until the rice is al dente and creamy (30-45 minutes, keep tasting until the rice is cooked to your liking). Stir occasionally to keep things moving and to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. There is no need to stir constantly.

9. Once duck fat is fully rendered and skin is nicely browned (10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts), flip the breasts and sear them on the flesh side for 30 seconds. Then return to skin side and transfer to the oven to finish until the internal temperature of the duck is 155° F.

10. While duck is in oven, melt butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. When lightly browned, add the pears and sugar and allow to caramelize undisturbed for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

11. Remove duck from oven and rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes, skin side down.

12. For the sauce, pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of duck fat from the skillet the duck breasts were roasting in. Place the skillet over high heat. Add shallots and orange zest to the pan, allow to sweat for 30 seconds, then deglaze with the port. Add cherries and the reserved stock. Reduce to desired consistency. Swirl in butter to finish and immediately remove from heat.
13. When risotto reaches desired consistency, fold in gorgonzola and arugula (which will wilt from residual heat).
2010 Video Recipe Contest

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