A trip to the market this morning found fresh duck breast in the poultry case. It had been awhile since we had duck so that was resolved this evening.
I scored the skin on the boneless breasts then sauteed them over medium heat for about twelve minutes, long enough to render out most of the fat. They were turned over and cooked about three minutes on the second side. While they were resting I removed the duck fat from the skillet, and tossed in some chopped shallots and some grated fresh ginger. I added a teaspoon of an ancho chili paste, a teaspoon of honey and a quarter cup of port. Once that reduced it was brushed over the duck breasts and they were popped under the broiler to re crisp the skin.
We added some mashed Yukon gold potatoes, threw some chopped scallions over everything and popped the cork on a 2002 Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. There was cassis and tobacco in the nose, but the taste was dark cherries and other red fruits. Good acid and some smooth tannin added a little complexity, but this was still a more old world wine than a new world one. It was very balanced and had a good finish, ending with just the last little burst of tannin. It was a nice match with the duck.
There was a mango sorbet for dessert, and after dessert there was an assault on a 2001 late bottled vintage port from Taylor Fladgate. This was the port that was in the sauce for the duck. Fruity, dark and just basically nice with out being spectacular, for $20 it was a decent buy. There was some Stilton cheese and a few pecans to finish the evening. Temperatures have been falling all day and will continue to do so with a low tomorrow night expected between 0 and 5 degrees. Good port weather.