The deep, raisin-like flavors of Madeira flatter the dark duck meat in this recipe. If you’re not a fan of duck, then try this with chicken. It transforms the more humble bird into quite the refined little dish.
Often used in French cooking, Madiera—a fortified wine from Portugal—has a much longer shelf life than regular table wines. That means the bottle you open for this recipe won’t go bad for quite some time—just re-stop it and store it in the refrigerator. Be sure to sniff it before using it again in the unlikely event that it might have turned.
Cippolini onions bring a mild sweetness and meaty texture to this dish. They’re so pretty, too—their appearance on the plate brings an extra touch of style that makes the recipe worthy of a dinner with friends. Other times, you can substitute pearl onions. Keep in mind their cooking time will be shortened, as they’re smaller than cippolini.
Makes 4 servings
1/4 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless duck breast
1/2 cup prune juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 small cippolini onions, peeled and trimmed, or 1/2 cup frozen pearl
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Madeira
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 recipe Any-Night Baked Rice
1. Mix the pepper and thyme together with salt to taste and rub into the duck breasts. Place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2-inch thick.
2. Place duck in a shallow bowl. Pour prune juice over duck. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
3. After duck has marinated, drain prune juice marinade and discard. Pat duck dry and set aside.
4. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions in butter until browned and slightly softened, about 5 minutes (if your pan is too large for the onions, cook the onions in just one side of the pan, tilting it slightly if necessary so that butter doesn’t burn). Remove pan from heat; remove onions from pan and set onions aside.
5. Lightly dust duck with flour, shaking off excess. Heat olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck breast. Reduce heat to medium and sauté duck in hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes, turning once.
6. Remove pan from heat. Steadily (without allowing the liquid to spatter), add Madeira to pan; set pan over medium heat. Add raisins and broth. Cook, stirring with a wire whisk to loosen any browned bits from bottom of pan; allow to boil until slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Return onions to pan. Continue to cook, turning duck breasts occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a sauce-like consistency, duck breast is done, and onions are tender, about 8 minutes.
7. Transfer duck breasts to a carving board; cut each diagonally across the grain into slices. For each serving, pack 3/4 cup Any-Night Baked Rice into a custard cup. Invert rice onto center of a dinner plate. Arrange duck slices around the rice; spoon sauce atop duck, adding two onions to each plate.
Chicken with Raisins, Petits Oignons, and Madeira. Place 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds total), one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Prepare as above, but serve the chicken breasts whole rather than sliced.