Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cranberry Sauce and a lovely pan-fried duck breast

I am writing this evening to extol the virtues of home-made cranberry sauce and how delicious that it can be with a pan fried duck breast.  I have just about finished it, except for some midnight pickings and it was absolutely delicious in every way.

Make you own home-made cranberry sauce to accompany your goose, duck or turkey next week, you will not be disappointed and you will probably never buy a jar again! 

I used the following, to serve 6:

300g fresh cranberries
5 tblsps orange or clementine juice
2 tblsps Port
125g golden caster sugar
Place the cranberries, juice and port into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes - you will hear the cranberries pop.  Take off the heat, add the sugar and stir well to ensure that the sugar has fully melted.  Serve immediately warm or cold or place in the fridge where it will keep for about 14 days.

Today I sent a jar to my in-laws in Cork along with a Christmas Pudding so that we can be there in some part for their Christmas dinner. 
Tonight I used the remainder in a cranberry and ginger sauce to serve with a pan-fried duck breast.  It was delicious and I would recommend that if you cook duck as rarely as I, to do it more often, I know I will after this evening.

For the ginger and garlic sauce:

grate 1 garlic clove finely
grate the same amount in ginger
8 tblsps red wine vinegar
50g golden caster sugar
100g fresh cranberry sauce (as above)

Place the garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half.  Your house will smell very strongly of vinegar and do not sniff it closely!  When the liquid has reduced, add the cranberry sauce and stir well to combine.  This is now ready to serve but set aside until just about ready to serve the duck.

To cook the duck breasts:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Score the skin of the each duck breast and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
Heat an oven-proof frying pan to a high-ish heat on the hob and place the breasts pan-side down. 
Cook for approximately 15 minutes until they no longer stick to the pan and the skin has taken on a golden brown colour.

Drain the excess fat in the pan off and reserve.

Pour in 1 wine glass full of cognac around the breasts and place in the oven, cooking for a further 10-15 minutes. 
I like it served with a crispy skin and a slightly pink middle, some like it left a little longer to ensure that there is no pink.  I would advise taking it out of the oven and cutting into one breast to see how it is done after about 12 minutes - replace if you would like it a little better cooked.
I sliced some left over cooked potatoes and fried them in the excess duck fat and served this with warmed cranberry and ginger sauce. 
It was all completely delicious and quite perfect for a dinner party, even if ti was only the two of us. 
The cranberry sauce tastes home-made and nothing like anything you will buy - it is quick, easy and well worth making yourself to serve with your turkey or any gamey bird or terrine.

And while I am here, have a look at my really lovely new napkins which arrived today.  I am thrilled that a parcel from South Africa arrives to little old me in Dublin just filled with goodies from Skinny laMinx.  Watch out for these in all my future blog posts!


  1. I have a Skinny Laminx tea towel too, the one with birds on it. I love her designs!

  2. Hi Kristin, it was like Christmas yesterday when they arrived, her designs are so simple and the colours really nice! I love them all!