Roast Turnips and Duck with Pear Jus

Even though duck is no more difficult to prepare than chicken, it always feels much more elegant. Braise it with turnips, and it’s a classic; with the addition of a pear-brandy sauce, it becomes sweeter, more complex, and downright luxurious. Simply cooked leafy vegetables or green salad are all you need on the side.

Recipe from "The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living" by Mark Bittman, 2010, published by Simon & Schuster.

Roast Turnips and Duck with Pear Jus

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    Ingredients

    1 or 2 boneless duck breasts (about 1 pound), with the skin 2 garlic cloves, smashed
    Salt and black pepper 2 pears, peeled and chopped
    1 pound turnips or rutabagas, cut into large chunks 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock or water
    8 fresh sage leaves 1/4 cup brandy
    1 bay leaf Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Score the skin of the duck breasts, sprinkle with  salt and pepper, and place them skin side down in a large, ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown thoroughly on both sides, rotating and turning as necessary, 10 to 15 minutes total. Remove the duck from the pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

    • 2

      Add the turnips, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until they are nicely browned on the bottom and just getting tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the sage, bay leaf, and garlic and return the duck to the pan. Roast until the turnips are tender and the duck is cooked to your liking, about 15 minutes for medium-rare. Put the duck on a plate or cutting board to rest, and transfer the turnips to a serving platter.

    • 3

      Put the pan on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the pears, stock, and brandy and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the pears are soft and the pan juice is slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Thinly slice the duck. Serve a few slices on top of a pile of the turnips and spoon the pear sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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