Sous vide. Ever cooked with this method? Whether you utilize a stick or tub to maintain temperature, it’s a simple, almost foolproof style of cooking where you vacuum-seal the food, then submerge it in a water bath at a precise temperature. In terms of meat, the result usually yields a super juicy, tender product that needs to be seared on the sides to give it a nice, crispy exterior.
And while I typically use my sous vide machine for beef and pork, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at duck breasts with this recipe. Maple Leaf Farms is a great option for ordering duck breast, as they ship their meats at a reasonable price, and it’s a high-quality product. If you enjoy duck, there’s a good chance you’ve had Maple Leaf in the past, as many restaurants carry their duck meat.
Here’s the good thing about sous vide cooking: it gives you a wide window to cook your food. I left my duck breasts in the machine for an hour, but I could have gone up to three hours and had the same or similar result. Other than that, please follow the directions below.
2 (8 ounce) boneless duck breast halves, skin on
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Cut several very shallow crosswise slashes across the skin of each duck breast about 1/2 inch apart. The cuts should only barely cut into the skin and fat; don’t cut into the meat. Season skin sides with salt. Generously season meat sides with salt, black pepper, and thyme.
2. Place duck breasts in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, squeeze out all air, and seal. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Fill a large Dutch oven about 2/3 full with water. Bring water to 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) over medium heat. Attach a candy or oil thermometer to the side of the Dutch oven in order to monitor and maintain the water temperature. Place a silicone hot pad into bottom of the pan to keep the plastic bag from contacting the hot bottom of the pan.
4. Place plastic bag containing duck breasts in the Dutch oven, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature at 135 degrees F (57 degrees C). Cook for 1 hour, moving the bag around occasionally and maintaining the temperature.
5. Remove duck breasts from plastic bag and pat dry. Generously season skin sides with salt.
6. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Place duck breasts with skin sides down in skillet and cook until fat renders and skin is golden brown, 5 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook until lightly browned and meat still pink in the center, 1 minute. Let duck breasts rest for 2 minutes before slicing.