Duck Breast with Braised Cabbage

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Livermore

Serves 4

2 ounces duck fat

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 ounces bacon, thinly sliced

1 medium white cabbage, thinly sliced

12 juniper berries, chopped

20 black peppercorns, ground

1 sprig of thyme, chopped

1 bottle white wine

4 duck breast halves

Heat duck fat in a sauté pan and cook onions and bacon over medium heat until onions are soft. Add spices. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and plunge the cabbage into it, removing and draining right away. Add it to onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir. Cover pot and simmer for 1½ hours.

Start preparing duck breasts 30 minutes before you want to serve.

Take a sharp knife and score the skin of the duck breast with three cuts each way across, creating a crisscross pattern. Be sure to not go all the way through the skin to the meat. The purpose of the scoring is to expose the fat to help with rendering. Season with salt and pepper.

Render the duck breasts skin-side down in a sauté pan on medium heat, draining off excess fat every 5 minutes. After 20 minutes, the fat cap should be mostly removed, leaving a nicely crisped skin. Flip the breasts over and finish cooking for about 5 minutes. Let the breast rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Place a mound of braised cabbage on each plate. Slice breasts thinly and place on top of braised cabbage to serve.

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