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Grilled Duck Breast With Wild Rice Dried Cherry Pilaf

Heartland: The Cookbook
by Judith M. Fertig

The constellation of flavors in this dish comes from the Heartland larder: domestic duck, sorghum, wild rice, and dried cherries.
Serves 4


Sorghum-Lime Grilling Paste
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
• 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup or dark brown sugar

• 4 domestic boneless duck breast halves
• Fine kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wild Rice-Dried Cherry Pilaf
• 2 tablespoons Home-Rendered Lard or canola oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 cup wild rice
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup or honey
• Fine kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. For the grilling paste, whisk the garlic, lime zest and juice, and sorghum together.

2. With a sharp knife, score the fat on each duck breast half, but don't cut through to the meat. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper, then lightly paint the surface of each duck breast with the grilling paste. Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill, and make the pilaf. In a large saucepan, heat the lard over medium-high heat and saute the onion until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the wild rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the white rice, dried cherries, and sorghum. Cover again and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the rice is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

4. Grill the duck breasts, fat side down, for 4 minutes, keeping a spray bottle filled with water handy in case of flare-ups. Turn and continue grilling for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the duck reaches an internal temperature of 140° to 145°F for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let the duck breasts rest for 5 minutes.

5. To serve, slice the duck breasts on the diagonal, shingle them on each plate, and serve with the pilaf.


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