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Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

Don't fear the duck breast!

Michael Mina’s step-by-step approach shows how to cook duck breasts that are totally succulent – whether they’re served in a bowl of ramen or eaten on their own. By poaching the duck in the ramen broth, the breasts will be packed with its rich, deep flavor. Michael also shares a simple technique for turning duck skin into cracklings that are so rich, crispy and delicious that they can only be described as “bacon with wings.”

Tips & Techniques

  1. Duck for beginners. Poaching a duck is a slower cooking technique than roasting, so it gives you more control over the cooking process and leaves you a larger margin for error.
  2. Rare and thin. The idea here is to leave the duck slightly rare and slice it very thin so that it will continue cooking in the hot ramen broth.
  3. Save the legs. Duck legs can be tougher than the breasts so they can benefit from chopping or grinding – which makes them perfect to use in dumpling filling.

Toolbox

This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Panini press. The Panini press turns the duck skin into decadent, crispy cracklings without making a mess. Plus, the press collects that rendered fat the melts off the skin without burning it, so the duck fat can be swirled into the broth for added richness.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Panini press
  • Medium pot
  • Plate or rack
  • Thermometer
  • “Fingers” or tongs
  • Small sheet pan and rack
  • Small bowl

Poached Duck and Cracklings Recipe


Ingredients
  • 2 boneless duck breasts (about 1¼ pound total), skin on
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 cups ramen broth (add link when ready), for poaching

Serves: 4

Total Time: 40 minutes

Active Time: 40 minutes

Method
  1. Heat Panini press to 340°F. Alternatively you can set a cast iron grill pan and a grill pan cover or smaller cast iron pan each over medium-high heat.
  2. Gently remove skin from the duck breasts with your fingers, using a chef’s knife as needed to separate the skin from the meat.
  3. Place the duck skin on the Panini press or grill pan and set the hot lid (or a hot smaller cast iron pan) over the skin. Cook until golden brown and crispy, about 16 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack set over a sheet pan and let rest. Reserve the remaining duck fat from the collection plate or in the skillet to a small bowl.
  4. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place 4 cups of the broth in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Bring to 170°F. Use a digital probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of the broth throughout the poaching, adjusting the heat as needed.
  5. Place the other 2 cups broth in a separate heatproof quart container and set aside.
  6. Add the duck breasts to the pot. Carefully adjust the heat to keep the broth between 155°F and 165°F. Poach the breasts until their internal temperature is 140°F, for about 12 minutes. (A cake tester inserted into the center of the breast should come out just warm.) The breasts will be just under done at this point and will finish cooking in the ramen.
  7. Transfer the breasts to the cool broth and let rest. Slice very thinly, 1/8-inch thick, against the grain and serve with slices of cracklings. If you need to re-crisp cracklings after they have been sitting in the fridge, you can reheat them in the oven or quickly re-crisp in a pan with oil.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Duck & vegetable stir-fry

Cook the ducks breasts to your desired doneness and serve them over rice with vegetables that have been stir-fried with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and orange juice.

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