If chocolate for dinner sounds too good to be true, it’s because chocolate is usually associated with decadent desserts. However, it can also take comfort food to a whole new level when paired with savory ingredients like red meat.
A bit of bittersweet cocoa powder helps balance out the richness of red meats like duck. Although it’s leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats, duck has a bold flavor and texture similar to steak.
In this Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast recipe, cocoa powder, ground coffee and savory spices are rubbed onto the meat before it’s seared and smothered with a luscious sweet cherry and red wine sauce. The toasty, nutty flavor of coffee complements the cocoa while dark sweet cherries, red wine and toasted almonds complete the sweet and savory dish.
Find more comfort food recipes and tips for cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.
Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast with Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce
Prep time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coffee
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
4 Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breasts, thawed
Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce:
2 tablespoons reserved duck fat
1/2 cup minced shallots
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
5 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved
5 sprigs fresh thyme
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
To make Mocha Rub: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, coffee, salt, pepper and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Pat duck breasts dry and score according to package directions. Use half of rub on meat side of breasts. Cover breasts and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
In cold saute pan, place duck breasts skin-side down. Place pan over low-medium heat 8-12 minutes, or until fat is rendered and skin is crisp and brown.
Turn breasts over and sprinkle remaining rub on skin side. Cook breasts 1-2 minutes skin-side up. Turn breasts back to skin-side down 1-2 minutes to caramelize rub. Reserve approximately 2 tablespoons duck fat for sauce.
Heat oven to 350 F.
Place duck breasts skin-side up on rimmed baking sheet; bake 5-6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Let breasts rest 4-5 minutes before slicing. Temperature will rise during resting period to reach 165 F.
To make Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce: Place saute pan with reserved duck fat over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add wine to pan to deglaze. Stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar, cherries and thyme sprigs; simmer until reduced. Remove thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve sauce over cooked duck breasts. Garnish with toasted almond slices.