Wednesday, August 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Healthy duck? For Mardi Gras, we make it possible

Food Healthy Creole Duck

This Feb. 3, 2014, photo shows spicy sauteed creole duck breast with creole seasoning in Concord, N.H. This New Orleans-styled dish features duck, andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

By
From page B6 | February 26, 2014 |

With Mardi Gras looming, I thought it might be fun to cook up some New Orleans-styled goodies featuring duck, andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. These rich ingredients are typical of the fare from this town that knows how to party – an instinct that goes into overdrive during Mardi Gras.

And in this recipe, I’ve figured out a couple ways for us to have our cake and eat it, too. It delivers big flavor without the usual complement of fat and calories.

We start with the star of this show, the breast of duck, a well-known fount of flavor that – depending on how you cook it – doesn’t have to be terribly heavy. I do recommend that you saute the breast with the skin on; that’s how to maximize its deliciousness and moistness.

But you can remove and discard the skin – along with most of the serious fat and calories – afterward. In happy fact, duck meat without the skin is leaner than white meat chicken. And duck fat is not bad fat. Yes, some of it is saturated, but a large percentage of it is mono- and poly-unsaturated, with the same properties, incredibly enough, as olive oil.

The duck and its sauce are brightened with homemade Creole seasoning, which has at least as much flavor, and significantly less salt, than many store-bought versions. My version is modeled on the spice mixes of two of New Orleans’s greatest chefs – Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

A great all-purpose mix, my blend works equally well with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, eggs and vegetables. In fact, you might want to double the recipe and keep the extra at the ready for future use. Here, I season the duck ahead of time and let it stand for 15 minutes, which allows the spices to flavor the meat more deeply. But if you’re short on time, just sprinkle the duck with the seasoning right before cooking.

The tomato-based sauce is flavored not only with my Creole spice mix, but with Louisiana’s holy trinity of vegetables: carrot, celery and bell pepper. Also, in a nod to the city’s trademark richness, there’s a soupcon of Andouille sausage. Imported by Louisiana’s French settlers in the mid-1700s, andouille usually is made of smoked and coarsely ground pork. It’s spicy, too, with the American version having picked up more heat than the French over the centuries. There’s so little andouille called for here that you might consider using the full-fat version, but you’re welcome to seek out leaner brands at the supermarket; they’ll be made of chicken and turkey, not pork. In either case, this sauce, like the Creole seasoning, is widely useful. Try it with shrimp, chicken, beef, or pork and see for yourself.

By the way, if duck has always struck you as gamey, you haven’t tried Peking (also known as Long Island) duck breast, the kind employed in this recipe. I serve duck breast once a week at home and the family loves it. It’s so quick and easy to prepare that I put it in the same category as steak. As a matter of fact, duck breasts pair up nicely with any of the sauces you’d use with steak.

Meanwhile, back to Mardi Gras. Ladies and gents, let the good times roll!

SPICY SAUTEED CREOLE DUCK BREASTS

Start to finish: 1½ hours (40 minutes active)

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 ounces andouille sausage, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped celery

1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning (purchased or use the recipe below), divided

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup chopped or crushed canned tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)

2 whole Peking duck breasts (4 halves, about 2 to 2½ pounds)

In a medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl, then return the pan to the heat and add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 to 1½ teaspoons of Creole spice mix (or more if you want a very spicy sauce) and the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, then bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until much of the liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

While the sauce is simmering, using a very sharp knife, lightly score the skin on each duck breast half in a crisscross pattern, cutting well into but not entirely through the meat. Pat the breasts dry and sprinkle them on both sides with the remaining 2 teaspoons Creole spice mix, making sure that the mix gets into the cracks of the scored skin. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In a large cold skillet, place the duck breasts, skin side down. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the skin looks very crispy, about 12 minutes. Do not pour off the fat; the liquid fat in the pan helps to render out the fat in the skin.

When the duck skin is crisp, transfer the breasts to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Return the duck to the skillet, skin side up, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck to a clean plate, skin side up. Cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Pour off any remaining fat in the skillet. Add the sauce and the browned sausage to the skillet and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add any juices that have collected on the plate the duck breasts are on.

Remove and discard the skin from the duck, if desired (separating it by slicing off the skin with a paring knife). Thinly slice the duck and arrange it on 6 serving plates. Spoon some of the sauce over each portion.

Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 110 calories from fat (32 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 255 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 50 g protein; 670 mg sodium.

CREOLE SEASONING

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Makes about 1/3 cup

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1½ teaspoons onion powder

1½ teaspoons cayenne

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

1½ teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Ryde Hotel: A speakeasy from the past

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Walnut Grove shows a bit of historic Japan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Walnut Grove: Fun facts, things to see

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

 
Solano County supervisors get raise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A2

Solano supervisors declare quake state of emergency

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Solano helps after Napa quake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Weather for Aug. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

 
 
Solano promotes hand washing

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Solano College to host college transfer fair

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A6

 
Golf tournament to benefit college sport’s teams

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A6

Man steals car from Fairfield resident

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
Learn about local travel opportunities

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Pierce Brosnan thriller kicks off week’s new films

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Vacaville OK’s 20-percent reduction in water use

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A8

 
Museum guild schedules trip to historic San Francisco home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

 
3 die in I-680 crash; 2 from Vacaville

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 25, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 24, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 24, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Obama defends handling of veterans affairs issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Arab strikes in Libya show impatience with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP sources: US surveillance planes fly over Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Napa quake stirs clamor for warning system

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
American woman held hostage in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Putin and Poroshenko meet for bilateral talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Group files petition to idle coastal nuke plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Israel, Hamas agree to open-ended Gaza cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Los Angeles schools halt iPad deal amid criticism

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Report finds 1,400 children exploited in UK town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Police: Slain woman ID’d ex-deputy as her attacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Officials: Instructor accidentally killed by girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Judges blast Indiana, Wisconsin gay marriage bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Opinion

How to reduce taxes without busting the budget

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

 
Abandoned carts are everyone’s responsibility

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Editorial cartoons for Aug. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Obama risks alienating Latinos from Dems

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

We were good parents. Why won’t our adult children help us out?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

Banishing the blues with healthy blueberry muffins

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B7

 
Choosing chutney

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Women talk about sports on CBS Sports Network

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Miley Cyrus’ date wanted by Oregon police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NBC’s Emmycast logs robust 15.6 million viewership

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

US teen Bellis, 15, stuns Cibulkova at US Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders CB DJ Hayden to start season on PUP list

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers prepare for possible Aldon Smith suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Prep football preview: Indians positive heading into 2014 season

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Serena Williams beats American teen at US Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Carter’s HR in 8th leads Astros over A’s 4-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Love struck: Kevin Love pledges commitment to Cavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sarkisian: USC looking into Shaw’s heroic story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Davis, US men beat Slovenia in basketball exhibition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Latest Astrodome proposal: massive indoor park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bumgarner flirts with perfection, finishes with 1-hitter in Giants win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No reason to feel sorry for Jim Furyk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TMS 2015 schedule springs back to night race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

UN health agency urges crackdown on e-cigarettes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Survey: US consumer confidence near a 7-year high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Burger King buys, plans expansion of Tim Hortons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Lyle Cullum

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Florentino”Paul” Castaneda Bersola

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Nadine L Wetherell

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6