Stuffed Duck Breast for My Valentine
I just love concocting wonderful things to stuff inside beautiful cuts of meat. I do it with venison all the time (like stuffing venison with mashed turnips or mashed pumpkin). A few months ago I got a gorgeous local duck breast from The Organic Butcher in McLean, which has sense been sitting in my freezer waiting for a special occasion (or really just a free Saturday night when I had the time to make a fancy dinner). This weekend presented the opportunity. The fact that it’s Valentine’s Day weekend is purely coincidental.Especially since we don’t actually celebrate Valentine’s Day, but that’s another post.
My plan was to make the stuffed duck breast, mashed turnips, and broccoli rabe. And I did all those things. But, at the last minute, we decided to invite some friends over whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. Since they always have plans, we really thought they’d decline (we always hope they’ll be free, but they usually aren’t). In a surprise and delightful twist on the normal, they accepted our invitation! (Which was good since they brought a lovely wine that went perfectly with the meal and I had no wine in the house at all. Oops.)
An hour or so before dinner, I realized I didn’t have nearly enough food to feed four people! So I added to our feast some pork steaks that we got at the Leesburg Farmer’s market and some wild rice I had waiting in the freezer for just such an emergency. Feast saved. (I didn’t photograph those last two things, though, because they weren’t part of the original plan and I didn’t do anything very exciting with them. They were very tasty though.).
This Dark Days Challenge meal 12 ended up being a mostly local meal: the duck breast, bacon butter, mushrooms, onion, garlic, seasoning blend, butter, and cream are all local. The turnips and brocoli rabe came out of our garden yesterday morning. The cream cheese is organic.
The dinner? Wow. Duck breast is amazing. The whole dinner blended perfectly…the tang of the turnips balanced the richness of the duck meat. The brocoli rabe, which I’ve never had before, was tender and sweet. I was informed by all parties that I could make that again. And again. And again. I must say, one of life’s delectable treasures is the ability to make friends happy. Does anything feel better?
Recipe: Duck Breast Stuffed with Mushrooms and Onion
Summary: Rich and flavorful, the perfect meal for you special someone
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 or 6 Crimini mushrooms, diced
- 1 Tbs butter
- 2 oz organic cream cheese
- 1 tsp all purpose seasoning blend (salt, pepper, parsley)
- 1 duck breast (about 1/2 pound)
- 5 or 6 slices uncured bacon
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Saute until the onion is tender. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms are just tender (less than a minute).
- Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes wile you prep the duck breast. Remove the fat from the duck breast. This is pretty easy; just lift a corner and gently slice at the membrane holding it to the meat. Gently pull and slice until you’ve cut through all the membrane.
- Butterfly the duck breast, making a pocket for the filling and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the onions and mushrooms, cream cheese and seasoning. Mix well.
- Spoon the cream cheese filling into the pocket you created with the duck breast. Use as much as you like—it’s really up to how much cheesy goodness you want. Reserve any left over as a spread for your bread.
- On a cutting board, lay out the bacon in rows and set the duck breast on top. Wrap each piece of bacon securely around the breast and fasten with a tooth pick. The bacon will help keep the cheese inside the breast while cooking.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Sear the bacon wrapped breast on each side until the bacon is lightly browned. This will be about 4 minutes per side.
- Remove the duck breast to a roast pan and roast, uncovered, for about 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let set for five to ten minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy the looks of ecstasy on your dinner guests’ faces.
You could really do this with any type of meat. It would be especially nice with chicken or turkey. You may need to adjust the cooking time, however.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Diet tags: High protein
Number of servings (yield): 3
Copyright © Susan Rose.
Mashed Turnips and Broccoli Rabe
See my post on the venison stuffed with mashed turnips for how I did that. The broccoli rabe was easy—I heated some organic olive oil, added the broccoli rabe and sauted until tender (about three minutes), then I sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Gorgeous!