WROC Recipes: Bacon Wrapped Duck Breast with Mushroom Port Sauce
Wind River Outdoor Company is Wyoming's premier specialty outdoor store specializing in fly fishing, hunting, camping, and all things outdoors. Needless to say, we happen to get out in the outdoors a lot, and as we all love to cook (and eat), we thought it might be a good idea to share some of our best (top-secret) recipes for you to give a try the next time you head out and partake in the bounty of the great State of Wyoming and beyond.
Waterfowl season is upon us here in Wyoming, and the bounty from the sky can make for some tasty eats if you treat them with some love and preparation ahead of time. This is Wind River Outdoor Company's first recipe, and we chose it over big game and upland birds, so you know it has to be good! I have to admit, though, that waterfowl can be pretty strong/gamey, and for this reason, you have to prep well in advance to minimize this fact. Serve this dish with a creamy mushroom risotto, and you will have a dish that will blow people away!
One of the keys to this dish is ensuring that the duck breasts are cleaned thoroughly and all blood, feathers, etc., are entirely removed. Try to use puddle ducks such as Mallard, Gadwall, or Teal as far as your ducks go. If you can get Pintail, then go for it, but those are pretty uncommon in Wyoming, so we generally cook this recipe using Mallards. Stay away from diver ducks as they are much too strong in flavor for this recipe, in my opinion. Next, brine the breasts in saltwater for 6-8 hours to help remove some of the gamey taste. After 8 hours, put the breast in the marinade and refrigerate overnight. This marinade will work for six breasts and is as follows:
2 cups orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of red wine
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic
*note, you will have to heat the marinade to get the honey to incorporate fully. Make sure to chill the marinade before pouring over duck breasts and refrigerating.
Next, time to start the sauce as this takes some time. Take an entire bottle of ruby port (750ml) and pour it into a saucepan. Don't use the cheap stuff because it is too sweet and doesn't have the depth of flavor that good bottles have. I used Ficklin 10 year Tawny Port. Bring this liquid to a gentle boil and let it reduce to half of the original volume. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes (sometimes longer) so do this before cooking the duck. Additionally, DO NOT let it get too hot as it can burn and become worthless. In a separate skillet, put half a stick of butter into the pan. Slice up two containers of fresh mushrooms of your choice and brown them. Make sure to season to your liking. Remove from heat when mushrooms are browned and reduced to half their original size. Add them to the reduced port sauce when it becomes half the original volume. Next, add two tablespoons of garlic juice and stir to integrate it into the sauce. Finally, gently introduce a corn starch slurry (2 tablespoons of corn starch and one cup cold chicken broth that have been mixed very well) into the port sauce and stir until thickened. Once thickened, turn the heat off and place a lid on the saucepan.
Now for the main treat. First, get a heavy cast-iron skillet. You will need to cook 10 slices of bacon in the pan so that you can use the remnant bacon fat for cooking the duck. Don't worry - I am sure you can find a use for this bacon somewhere in your daily life! Mine did not make it ten minutes before we had devoured it.
Next, take the boneless and skinless duck breasts, wrap them each in bacon, and include 3 to 4 asparagus spears while wrapping them up. Secure with toothpicks. Place in skillet and generously season with salt, pepper, and a dash of creole seasoning for a little zip. Turn the heat on the skillet to medium and cook the breast side of the wrapped duck breasts until they are brown, and then turn them to brown the other side. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. After the bacon-wrapped breasts are browned, place the skillet with the duck breasts in the oven to finish them out. Make sure the pan has a little bit of liquid in it before going into the oven. Cook about 5 to 7 minutes until duck breasts are just a bit more cooked than medium-rare.
The risotto is super good and extremely important in this dish. The earthiness pairs very well with the duck, and the creaminess is to die for. Take 1 ½ cups arborio rice and place them in a pot with olive oil. Once the rice begins to crackle, add one ladle of seasoned chicken stock at a time and begin to stir. When the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle of stock and continue for 15 minutes or so. When rice is full and done cooking, add a couple of pads of butter, a good pinch of pepper to taste, and some fresh parsley. Now, slowly stir in one cup of parmesan cheese and let the magic happen. That cheese will slowly melt and bring the rice together into a fantastic creamy dish. The parmesan cheese is slightly salty, so make sure you only salt the rice dish after putting the parm in; otherwise, you could make it too salty. I am drooling at this point as I could eat a wheel barrel full of this rice dish. It's SO good!
Place bacon-wrapped duck breast on a bed of the risotto and top with the mushroom port reduction sauce, and you will simply blow your family or friends away. The duck should be slightly more than medium rare - just be careful not to overcook the duck because when that happens, they become like a rubber tire and pretty unappetizing. Serve with a nice Pinot Noir wine from the One Stop Market, and you will look like an outdoor chef superstar! We paired it with Duck Pond Natural Path Pinot Noir - Oregon, and the combination was nothing short of a dream! Enjoy!
- Ron Hansen