In the fifth and final installment of our Blumer Recipe Series, we champion small ranchers like our friends at Liberty Duck
Throughout the United States, there are local ranchers and farmers whose specialty is raising ethically produced foods. Many of these folks had created such a demand for their quality products that they only had enough to sell exclusively to restaurants. Then the pandemic hit, and again the word for 2020 pivot became a necessity with these producers having to open up direct-to-consumer channels immediately. Not an easy task.
A great example of this is the San Francisco Bay Area’s Sonoma County Poultry, producers of Liberty Duck, some of the finest duck raised in the nation. Sonoma County Poultry was founded in 1992 by Jim Reichardt, a fourth-generation duck farmer, in response to chefs’ demands for a larger, meatier, more flavorful duck. Their Liberty Ducks are a strain of Pekin Duck that was developed in Denmark and is suited to a slower, less stressful style of rearing. Of note, the Reichardt family has been raising ducks since the early 1900s in the Bay Area.
Currently, in addition to supplying the finer Bay Area Restaurants with their fresh duck needs, Sonoma County Poultry ships Liberty Ducks directly to restaurants and individuals across the United States. In the western United States, shipping is accomplished economically by using Golden State Overnight. Further east, they use UPS Next Day Air Saver or Two Day Air service (source: libertyducks.com).
We have been extreme fans of Liberty Duck for decades, and can certainly remember the days when we could only taste it at our favorite Bay Area restaurants – direct ordering was about impossible. In celebration of Gastronaut and Author Bob Blumer’s new cookbook, Flavorbomb, he has paired his Pan-seared Liberty Duck Breast recipe below with our Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Jim Reichardt’s daughter, Jennifer Reichardt, has become an integral partner in Sonoma County Poultry over the years. She is also an accomplished winemaker and launched her own label in 2016, Raft Wines. She produces classic varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, and Sangiovese, yet more rare varieties for Califonia such as Primitivo and Grenache Blanc!
Pan-Seared Liberty Duck Breast
- 2 6 – 8-ounce Liberty boneless duck breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper divided
- 2 shallots diced finely
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons black currant jam ideally unsweetened, black cherry, or similar preserve
- 2 tablespoons Crème de Cassis
- Preheat oven to 350°F and set out a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil
- Use a paper towel to pat dry duck. Using a sharp knife, score four ¼-inch-deep cuts across the duck skin at a 45-degree angle. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper over the meat side of each duck breast.
- Heat a heavy pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add duck breasts to the dry pan, skin side down, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until skin is brown and crispy. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, reserve the drippings in pan, and transfer duck breasts, skin side up, to cookie sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 7 minutes for medium rare, or to your desired degree of doneness.
- While duck is roasting, carefully discard all but two tablespoons of duck drippings from the pan. Return pan to medium heat and add shallot. Stir occasionally for 3 minutes, or until shallot begins to turn golden. Remove from heat, Add vinegar to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen up the browned bits left by the duck. Add jam, Cassis, and remaining teaspoon of black pepper. Return to heat and stir occasionally for 3 minutes. Reserve.
- Remove duck from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest, for 5 minutes. Slice each breast at a 45-degree angle into ¼-inch-thick strips (properly cooked duck should resemble medium-rare steak). Arrange in a fanlike pattern on a warmed plate and spoon cassis compote overtop. Serve immediately.