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How to Sous Vide Duck Breast
For tender cuts of duck like the breast, I normally cook them at 131°F (55°C) just enough to heat them through or sometimes pasteurize them. This normally takes 2 to 3 hours. For a better sear I like to chill it in an ice bath for 5 to 10 minutes so I can render the fat longer without overcooking it.
Since duck is a bird that you normally would eat at a temperature besides well-done you don't necessarily have to pasteurize it. If you would traditionally feel comfortable eating it at a lower temperature, then you just need to heat it through to the temperature you prefer. Of course, with sous vide you can still pasteurize it at any temperature above 130°F (54.4°C) and that's usually what I do to be on the safe side.
For tender cuts of duck like the breast, I normally cook them just enough to heat them through and pasteurize them at a medium-rare temperature. This normally takes 2 to 3 hours for temperatures from 129°F to 135°F (53.8°C to 57.2°C). I tend to use 131°F (55°C) when I cook it. Going a little lower like this allows me to sear it longer on the skin side to reduce more of the fat.
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This is a hearty but nutritious meal featuring rich duck, flavorful roasted vegetables and nutty farro, all topped off with a light mixture of orange juice and soy sauce. It's a meal I love to eat when the temperature starts dropping in fall, it warms me up and gets me ready to face the second half of the day.
This recipe calls for freshly toasted and ground spices which adds a lot more depth and character than using pre-ground spices. However, if you don't have the time or inclination to do this it is still excellent with prepared spices, or even a pre-mixed 5-spice Chinese powder with some extra fennel seeds added. Serve this with some roasted or stir fried vegetables in a grain bowl.
Duck and cherries are a classic pairing while the vinaigrette dressing helps cut the fattiness from the duck and adds sweetness from the cherries. I often serve this with a fresh baguette and a ricotta cheese spread to round out the full meal.
The next type of food I wanted to cover in the Exploring Sous Vide course is chicken, turkey, and other poultry. I think sous vide transforms chicken and turkey breasts more than just about any other type of meat. They turn out so much more moist and tender than their traditional counterparts, in large part because you can cook them at a lower temperature.
Duck is one of my favorite meats to eat. I love the combination of tender meat with rich, creamy fat. In this recipe I pair it with some grilled asparagus and a blackberry-port pudding made from an agar fluid gel.
What to serve your guests something a little different but exceptional for dinner? In this dish I topped sesame noodles with shredded duck legs because they can hold up to the strong flavors of the pasta. You can serve this entree either hot or cold. It's sure to be a hit!
I've only been cooking duck for a few years now as it was never something I ate growing up. My wife and her Mom love it though so I've been trying to get my technique down. One benefit is the more I experiment with it the more I enjoy it. Making sous vide duck is a good, hands off way to prepare great duck every time.
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