Roast Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce

Roast Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce

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Ingredients

For sauce:
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups refrigerated pomegranate juice (such as Pom)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 large dried California or New Mexico chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces (we used New Mexico chiles since we couldn't find California chiles)
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo**
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (not toasted)
Coarse kosher salt

For duck:
8 5-to 6-ounce boneless duck breast halves, skin and fat trimmed to size of breast
Coarse kosher salt
Ground coriander
Fresh pomegranate seeds

Directions

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add juice, broth, and California chiles. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Puree in tightly covered blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Whisk in adobo sauce, vinegar, and cumin. Season to taste with generous amount of coarse salt and pepper. If your sauce is gritty, strain through a fine mesh sieve prior to serving.

Preheat oven to 400F. Score skin of duck (don't cut into flesh) with 5 cuts in 1 direction; repeat in opposite direction, making diamond pattern. Sprinkle duck all over with coarse salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Place 2 large ovenproof skillets over medium-high heat. Add duck, skin side down, to skillets, dividing equally. Cook duck until skin is crisp and deep brown, about 7 minutes. Turn duck over; cook 1 minute. Pour off fat. Transfer skillets to oven. Roast duck until cooked to medium-rare, about 5 minutes. (Our duck breasts were on the puny side so we skipped the roasting altogether and they turned out perfectly, but if your duck breasts are meatier you definitely want to roast them like this.)

Transfer duck to cutting board. Let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice each breast crosswise on slight diagonal. Arrange slices on plates. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.