Rosemary Duck with Caramelized Apples & Parsnips
4 duck breasts
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1¼ cups (310 ml) hard cider, divided
2 large rosemary sprigs, divided
1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
1 lb (454 g) parsnips, cut into ½- to ¾-in (1.25 to 2 cm) rounds
7 tbsp (105 ml) cold unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (30 ml) clover or light-coloured honey
1 cup + 2 tbsp (280 ml) water, divided
2 Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples
1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
- Place duck, skin-side up, on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, lightly score duck skin in a crisscross pattern, making sure not to cut into flesh. Generously season all over with salt and pepper. Place duck breasts, skin-side down, into a large ovenproof frying pan and cook over medium heat until skin is golden and some of the fat has rendered, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer duck to a plate. Pour rendered fat into a heatproof container, reserving for another use (delicious for roasting potatoes!), and return duck, skin-side up, to frying pan.
- Place pan in oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 125 F (52 C) in the thickest part of the meat, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Reserve pan for next step. While duck is resting, prepare sauce and sides.
- To make sauce, discard any excess fat from pan used to cook duck and place pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup (250 ml) hard cider and 1 rosemary sprig and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) cider and chicken stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until again reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make caramelized parsnips, in a large skillet or frying pan, combine parsnips, 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, vinegar, honey, 1 cup (250 ml) water and a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Bring to a hard simmer over medium-high heat, cover and let parsnips cook until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, turning often, until parsnips are lightly golden brown and liquid has reduced to a thick, sticky glaze, another 4 to 6 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) water to skillet and swirl to coat parsnips in glaze. Set aside but keep warm.
- To make caramelized apples, core and cut each apple into 8 wedges. Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook butter, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to turn a golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add apples, remaining rosemary sprig and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until apples are just tender when pierced with tip of a knife, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- When ready to serve, finish sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cut remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) butter into cubes. Remove pan from heat and gradually whisk in cold butter until completely incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a serving dish.
- To serve, slice duck and arrange on four serving plates. Garnish with caramelized parsnips and apples and serve sauce alongside. Enjoy immediately.