HONEY-THYME DUCK BREASTS WITH ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLESPrep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
1 head garlic
3 medium carrots, peeledand cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeledand cut into 2-inch pieces
4 small potatoes, halved
8 small shallots, unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 sprigs thyme, divided
Salt and black pepper
4 White Pekin duck breasthalves (6 ounces each)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon red winevinegar
1⁄2 cup chicken broth,homemade or low-sodium
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Preheat oven to 425° F. Cuttop off top third of garlic head;wrap garlic in aluminum foil.Bake about 45 minutes or untilsoft; cool and squeeze out pulp(there should be about 1 tablespoon).
Set aside. In ovenproofbaking dish, toss carrots,parsnips, potatoes and shallotswith olive oil, 4 of the thymesprigs and 1⁄4 teaspoon eachsalt and pepper. Add about 1⁄2cup water. Roast in 425° Fabout 1 hour or until vegetablesare tender and lightlybrowned; set aside.
With sharp knife, scoreskin side of duck breasts in aseries of parallel cuts 3⁄4 inchapart, without cutting intomeat. Make a second series ofparallel cuts perpendicularto the first to form a crosshatchpattern. Season breastswith salt and pepper. Placebreasts skin side down inheavy nonstick skillet largeenough to hold them comfortablyin one layer; do notcrowd. Cook over mediumheat about 8 minutes or untilfat runs out and skin isgolden-brown and crisp.(Some breasts may brownmore quickly than others;remove each breast as it isdone.) Transfer breasts tobaking dish or another skillet,skin side down, and finishcooking in oven about 8minutes for rare, 10 minutesfor medium-rare and 12 minutesfor medium, turningbreasts onto flesh side after 6minutes. Let breasts rest 3 to4 minutes before slicing.While breasts are in theoven, pour off fat from skilletbreasts were browned in. Addhoney and cook over mediumheat, stirring, until honeyturns golden-brown. Add vinegar;simmer until syrupy. Addbroth, chopped thyme andgarlic pulp; simmer, whiskingoccasionally, until sauce thickensslightly. Keep warm overlow heat.
Divide vegetables equallyamong 4 plates, discardingthyme sprigs. Cut each breastcrosswise on a slight angleinto 4 to 5 slices about 1⁄2-inchthick; fan 1 breast on eachplate around vegetables.Spoon sauce over breasts,dividing it equally. Garnisheach plate with a thyme sprig.Makes 4 servings.