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How To Cook An Amazing Duck Breast Dinner For Two

A budget-friendly, step-by-step plan for a special meal with classic mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.

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Here's what you'll need.

INGREDIENTS

1 duck breast

3 or 4 potatoes, preferably a mix of medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes and Russets

1 bunch of carrots

4 sticks of butter

1/3 cup whole milk

kosher salt

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup beef or vegetable stock

olive oil

option: 1 garlic clove, few sprigs of thyme

THE GAME PLAN

1. Start the potatoes.

2. Start the sauce.

3. Get the carrots in the oven.

4. Star the duck breast.

5. Check the potatoes and check the sauce.

6. Finish the potatoes.

7. Check the carrots.

8. Finish the duck breast.

9. Finish the sauce.

10. EAT!

Start with the potatoes. Peel them first.

Emily Fleischaker

Set up a station like this so you can peel each potato and put it in water so it doesn't brown after you've peeled it.

Then quarter them. The pieces should all be about the same size.

Emily Fleischaker

So even though you're cutting the Yukon Golds into quarters, you might cut the Russet into more than four pieces so they can be equal in size to the others.

Put the potato pieces in a large pot and cover them with cold water by about an inch.

Emily Fleischaker

When you boil potatoes, always start with cold water — and don't salt the water.

Bring the water to a boil and let them cook until just tender.

Emily Fleischaker

Once the water has started boiling it will take about 5 to 10 minutes for them to get tender — you can test how tender they are by poking them with a fork or knife, and once it goes through without much resistance, drain the potatoes.

While the potatoes are boiling, put 1/2 stick of butter and 1/3 cup of milk in a sauce pan and put it on a burner with no heat.

Emily Fleischaker

The butter will melt without any heat, and you can just briefly heat it before you put it in the mashed potatoes later.

If you didn't get pretty multicolored carrots, don't worry. If they aren't small, you might want to cut them into pieces so they are smaller, but no matter what kind of carrot, they all cook the same way.

Drizzle the carrots with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, then put in the oven at 400ºF. Set a timer for 20 minutes so you remember to check them.

Emily Fleischaker

They will take 20 to 30 minutes to cook, depending on how large they are. If you like them firmer, take them out when there's still a little bite.

First, "score" the duck breast (one is enough to feed two people) by making shallow crisscross slices on its fatty side.

Put it on a COLD PAN and put the pan on a low flame.

Macey J. Foronda

Duck breast is different than many other proteins in that you don't want to cook it over high heat. You want to cook it slowly over very low heat to render out and then crisp the fat.

About two or three times while the breast is cooking, you'll need to drain the fat out of the pan.

Macey J. Foronda

Hold the duck breast firmly against the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon (the person in this photo is using his hand because he is a professional cook and thinks he is cool/is kind of cool), and drain the grease off into a glass jar or something else that won't immediately melt when it comes into contact with hot grease.

And what's going on with your duck? You should check the color only after it's been on the pan for at least 10 minutes. Keep draining. Don't raise the heat past medium. This is close, but not quite there.

After cooking it, the duck should rest for about 5 minutes before you slice it. It's done when the internal temperature is 135ºF. To slice it, put the breast fat-side down.

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