Pan-roasted Duck Breast with Braised Mustard Greens, Grits and Smoked Cherry Compote

2012-04-28T20:30:00Z 2014-09-16T12:59:40Z Pan-roasted Duck Breast with Braised Mustard Greens, Grits and Smoked Cherry CompoteBy John Perkins and Garrett Lathan, entre UNDERGROUND Feast Magazine | Inspired Local Food Culture/Midwest

Duck breast makes for quite a luxurious meal. The key to preparing it well is to render a good amount of the fat from the breast; otherwise, you’re left with a challenging texture.

Serves | 4 |

Pan-roasted Duck Breast

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 cup salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cooking oil

Braised Mustard Greens

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb mustard greens, spines removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • high-quality sherry vinegar


  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups heavy cream or milk
  • 1 cup coarse-ground grits
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Smoked Cherry Compote

  • 1 cup dried Bing cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup water

| Preparation – Pan-roasted Duck Breast | Preheat oven to 400ºF. With a sharp paring knife, score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern. Mix salt and sugar together in a bowl and coat both sides of each breast with the mixture and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove duck from mixture and shake off excess salt and sugar.

Add oil to an oven-safe sauté pan over medium heat. Add the duck breasts skin-side down. Cook for 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch the skin. When skin is golden brown, turn the duck breasts and place the pan in the oven. Cook for 8 minutes, until the duck is medium rare. Remove from oven and set aside.

| Preparation – Braised Mustard Greens | Add bacon to a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once the bacon is softened and has released some fat, remove the bacon and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the mustard greens, turning with tongs to coat the greens with fat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue to turn the greens until wilted. Add chicken stock, one cup at a time. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove greens with tongs and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with a splash of sherry vinegar and adjust seasoning as needed.

| Preparation – Grits | Add butter, onion and garlic to a Dutch oven set over medium heat and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add water and cream (or milk) and bring to a simmer. While whisking the liquid, add grits in a slow, steady stream. Cook 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

| Preparation – Smoked Cherry Compote | Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Place cherries in shallow metal pan that will fit inside your grill. Once the coals have turned gray, add wood chips and the pan of cherries, placing the pan on the opposite side of the grill from the charcoal. Be sure the vent on the lid is directly above the cherries. When the smoke dies down, add more chips. Smoke the cherries for about 30 minutes. Add smoked cherries, sugar, wine and water to a medium sauce pan set over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

| To Assemble | On each of 4 dinner plates, place a large spoonful of grits and top with braised mustard greens. Thinly slice the duck breasts and lay 3 to 4 slices on each mound of greens. Spoon the compote over the duck and around each plate.

SUGGESTED WINE PAIRING: Augusta Winery Norton 2009 from Augusta Winery, Augusta, Mo.,

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