The United States has a food magazine publication called Saveur and France has one called Saveurs. The advantage of the French publication is that the recipes and articles are seasonal, therefore the ingredients are always available in the produce, meat and fish markets. In addition, the omnivorous French eat everything and celebrate the agricultural varieties found in their country. For instance, mushroom season is overwhelming. So many different varieties and ways to prepare them. My favorite are “trompettes de la mort” or trumpets of death, indispensable for braised Bresse chicken.
When I left Sens last December, I grabbed a number of issues of Saveurs magazine and put them in my already over loaded suitcase; even if I couldn’t find the exact ingredients, the produce,meat and fish varieties, I thought I could at least drool over the photos 🙂
While drooling over these photos, I found a delicious, simple recipe that I thought I could prepare; Magret de Canard with Pears and Mushrooms. I had 2 duck breast in the freezer and the mushroom and pear varieties would have to be substituted.
I was able to find a pound of pre-sliced and packaged portabello, shiitake and oyster mushroom crumbs. If you live in or near a city, you should be able to choose and make up a pound of these varieties from the loose bins and slice them yourself. You would certainly want more than crumbs from the oyster mushrooms.
The sauce was rich with butter, pears, shallots and the mushrooms. Perfect for the duck breasts. Easy. Fabulous!
Duck Magret with Mushrooms and Pears
1 cup chicken broth
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, separated into leaves
2 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, thinly sliced vertically
1 lb mixed mushrooms (portobello, oyster and shiitake), sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 William or Anjou pears, cored and sliced into 6 portions each
1 rounded tsp sugar
2 tbsp pear brandy
2 duck breasts, fat scored and seasoned with salt and pepper
Boil the chicken broth until it is reduced by half. Remove from the flame, add the rosemary leaves and set aside.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet, add the shallots and slowly cook until very soft. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, then continue to saute for 3 minutes on a high flame. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in the same skillet, add the pears and saute for 5 minutes on a medium flame. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the brandy, then on high flame, set it alight(flambe) and cook for 1 minute until the flames go out. Put the mushrooms and broth in the skillet, heat for about 30 seconds, then set aside.
Sear the breasts in a dry, heated skillet, fat side first for 6 minutes, turn and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes. Wrap the breasts in aluminum foil for 5 minutes.
Reheat the pear and mushroom sauce. Slice the breasts and serve with the sauce.