In the Kitchen: Roasted Duck Breast with Red Quinoa and Beer Gastrique
Paired with Passion Fruit Beers
Here’s a duck dish that’s not only easy to execute, but also enjoyable any time of the year. The savory richness of the duck breast and nutty flavor of the crisp duck skin pair well with the beer gastrique (for which we used Ecliptic Brewing’s Comet Calala Passionfruit Imperial Wit). The tartness of the gastrique cuts through the richness of the duck while maintaining balance, and the passion fruit lends a light and fruity taste that pairs well with game birds. Earthy and nutty quinoa is a healthy alternative that, with the addition of cilantro, brightens the entire dish. Serves 4 people.
Roasted Duck Breasts
2 whole Long Island duck breasts (4 halves)
4 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons of rough-chopped thyme
5 turns cracked black pepper
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red quinoa
1/2 cup white wine
1 quart vegetable stock
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4.5 ounces passion fruit beer
4.5 ounces apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons passion fruit puree
4 ounces sugar
1. Mix grapeseed oil, garlic, thyme and black pepper together and coat the duck breasts. Marinate overnight.
2. In a sauté pan, bring a tablespoon of canola or grapeseed oil to high heat. Season both sides of duck breasts with kosher salt, then place them skin side down in the pan. Reduce heat to medium.
3. Cook duck until the skin is golden and crispy. Pour off excess fat while cooking and reserve for something fun later (like potatoes!). Turn duck over to the flesh side and cook another 5 minutes, or until medium rare. Let rest 3 minutes and slice.
4. In a pot, caramelize onions and garlic until golden brown. Add quinoa and toss to coat with oil. Pour in white wine and reduce until dry, then add vegetable stock and bring to a boil while stirring quinoa. Add thyme and bay leaf.
5. Bring to a simmer and cook quinoa until al dente (about 15 minutes). Cool on a sheet pan, then season with kosher salt to taste and add cilantro just before serving.
6. For the gastrique, combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat until the sugar melts. Increase to a boil. Reduce to low and gently simmer until caramel just coats the back of the spoon, then cool.
7. Place a mound of quinoa in the center of a plate, with the sliced duck breast around it. Garnish with baby watercress, and spoon gastrique over the duck and around the plate.
The Chef’s Pairings: Passion Fruit Beers
Brewers continue to experiment with specialty ingredients, pushing the boundaries of flavor. Since a good beer deserves a good meal, All About Beer Magazine asked Executive Chef Rachel Klein of Red Stripe Restaurants in Rhode Island to taste a few beers brewed with passion fruit and offer tasting notes and pairing suggestions. Get more pairing ideas and recipes at allaboutbeer.com/food.
Almanac Passion ProjectABV: 6.5% | Oak-Aged Farmhouse Ale w/ Passion Fruit, Ginger & Grains of Paradise
Tasting Notes: Marijuana on the nose, with a honey barnyard funk. There’s a semi-confused hoppylike sourness going on, with a bitter oakiness and hints of malt, caramel and wheat. Pair with goat cheese, charcuterie, grilled lamb or smoked meats.
Braxton SummertripABV: 4.2% | Berliner Weisse-Style Ale w/ Passion Fruit
Tasting Notes: Passion fruit on the nose, then lemon acidity hits you on the front of the palate with a tartness of passion fruit leading to a rich, buttery wheat finish. This beer is very approachable, and lovers of shandies or sour beers will enjoy this one. Pair with grilled fish or a clam boil.
Ecliptic Comet Calala Passionfruit Imperial WitABV: 8% | Imperial Wit w/ Passion Fruit & Orange Peel
Tasting Notes: Passion fruit here is light but bright up front, with caramel on the mid-palate before a finish of pepper and coriander. In addition to roasted duck, this would pair well with game birds or venison—or, take a sweeter approach with chocolate or a raspberry tart.