Cranberry sauce is for more than just turkey. Here, we’re using it to make crispy, pan-seared duck breasts truly dazzle. The rich poultry is enlivened by its tart fruitiness, resulting in a wave of bold flavors that travel over the tongue and linger. Add some buttery mashed potatoes and a peppery watercress salad to the side, and you’ve got a meal that is sure to be a favorite in your kitchen through fall and beyond.
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Yukon Gold Potatoes
Heirloom Grape Tomatoes
Wash and dry all produce. Peel potatoes, then cut into ½-inch cubes. Mince garlic. Make shallow slits in duck skin in a crosshatch pattern. Season with salt and pepper. Add to a large pan skin-side down and place over medium heat. Cook until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 10-15 minutes. Flip and cook to desired doneness, 2-5 minutes more.
Place potatoes in a medium pot with a large pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced by a knife, 10-12 minutes. Drain and return to pot.
While duck and potatoes cook, place garlic and 2 TBSP butter in a small bowl and microwave on high until melted. Strip 1 tsp thyme leaves from stems; discard stems. Halve tomatoes and lemon. Halve, peel, and mince shallot until you have ¼ cup minced shallot.
Add garlic butter and 1/3 cup milk (we sent more) to pot with potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (TIP: Add more milk as needed to give potatoes a creamy consistency.) Cover to keep warm.
Once duck is finished cooking, remove from pan and set aside to rest. Pour off all but 1 TBSP duck fat from pan, then return pan to medium heat. Add shallot and thyme leaves. Cook until shallot is softened, 3 minutes. Add demi-glace, cranberry jam, and ¼ cup water, stirring to break up jam. Let simmer until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in a squeeze of lemon. Season with pepper and more lemon (to taste).
Toss watercress and tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon and a large drizzle of olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice duck crosswise. Divide potatoes and duck between plates, then drizzle with sauce. Serve with salad on the side.