Rich, fatty duck gets a double dose of sweetness from port wine and jammy figs.
Featured in: How Andrew Carmellini Does a Fall Dinner Party
- 2 cups ruby port
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch thyme
- 8 duck breasts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 lb. purple figs
In a small saucepan, combine the port with the wine, peppercorns, and shallots and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until reduced to 3⁄4 cup, about 25 minutes. Remove the port reduction from the heat, pour through a fine sieve, and discard the solids.
Season the flesh side of each duck breast with salt and pepper. Arrange 4 duck breasts, skin side-down, in a 12-inch skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the duck breasts, without flipping, until some of their fat renders and their skin is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the duck breasts, pour in half the port reduction and cook, basting with sauce, until the duck is browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes; reserve the reduction. Repeat cooking with the remaining 4 duck breasts and the port reduction.
Wipe the skillet clean, add the butter, and melt over medium-high heat. Add the figs and cook, turning, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the figs from the heat and cut the duck breasts into thin slices. Transfer the figs and duck slices to a serving platter and drizzle with the reserved reduction before serving.