Duck Breasts with Quince Sauce

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1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup membrillo (quince paste)
4 small or 2 large boneless duck breasts
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine

Combine the chicken broth and membrillo in a blender and puree until smooth.

Place the duck skin-side down in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Cook the duck, without moving it, until the fat renders from the skin and the skin becomes golden brown, about 15 minutes. Pour off the fat occasionally.

Season the meat side of the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Loosen the duck from the pan with a spatula. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking the duck skin-side down, until the skin is thin and browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the duck and continue cooking until it is cooked to medium doneness, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the duck to a plate.

Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. Add the shallot and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring up the browned bits, (deglazing) until the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add the membrillo mixture and boil until the sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 1 cup, about 7 minutes. Pour any juices from the duck into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the duck (if desired) and arrange on plates. Spoon the sauce over the duck and serve.


--Courtesy of Jeanne Kelley's book, "Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes."


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