Contrary to what some people might say, you should actually try to make this on a Monday night at home! ( It’s so easy, I promise. I did it, in just 30 panic-filled, terrifying minutes for Cooks vs. Cons.) Unfortunately, in the U.S., duck breasts are harder to come by. You won't find them easily in your average grocery store. You may have to order it online or go to a specialty butcher shop or higher-end supermarket, such as Staubitz in Brooklyn. In France, you can pick-up fresh duck breasts at your corner deli. ( Let’s hope that the duck craze catches on here in the States in the near future, so we all can eat as well as the French. LOL!) It doesn't hurt to keep a well-stocked pantry. Next time you’re out grocery shopping, try to add a couple of nice duck breasts for the freezer to your list. That way, you can have a quick weeknight treat when the mood hits.
The secret ingredient we were given for the challenge on Cooks vs. Cons was jam. I had to find a way to incorporate it into the dish. It would contribute to the sweetness of the dish significantly. My thoughts went straight to B'stilla . I wanted to use it in a surprising way, separating the sweetness from the filling to prevent clouding the flavor into one note.
Achieving a complex flavor profile is what makes this dish stand out. Melting the jam in the butter and adding harissa seasoning tempers the sweetness significantly and brings out the marmalade’s flavor which then gets brushed onto the phyllo layers. I also traded the confectioner’s sugar with dusting of cinnamon to prevent the dish from being overly sweet.
30 Minute Savoury Duck Pie
Servings: (2-3 individual pies)
1/2 pack Duck breast with skin on
4 Shallots minced
Salt, pepper & harissa powder blend
16 oz bag of fresh spinach
1/4 cup Marsala wine
Toasted pine nuts
4.75" diameter removable tart pan
Heat up butter & olive oil & jam, add harissa, bring to simmer, set aside. Season with salt to balance the sweetness.
Score duck skin, season with salt , pepper, harissa powder, & sear duck breast skin side down to render the fat on a cold cast iron pan heated to medium low to medium heat about 8 minutes. Turn over and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the temperature inside the meat reaches at least 136°F. If your duck breast is extra large , finish in the oven at 375° F until desired temperature is reached. Let meat rest for 8-10 minutes before cutting. Set aside duck fat.
Prep phyllo, brush layers with jam mixture and duck fat. Cut to size of removable tart pan and bake blank at 400° F for 5-7 minutes
Spinach Filling : sautee shallots in duck fat, add spinach and cook until it wilts, season with salt & pepper and add Marsala wine. Cook it out and add toasted pine nuts. Set aside.
Slice the perfectly cooked duck breast crosswise about ¼” set aside
Fill the baked shell with the spinach mixture. Add duck slices on top. Brush the extra jam mixture on top of the duck slices.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh thyme
Place on a plate that has been sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
* Recipe Photography by Baju Juwono