This recipe comes from French Food American Accent by Debra Ponzek and Joan Schwartz. I had this at Kay Hartman's was one of those "Now I know I'm in love" moments.

Seared and Roasted Duck Breasts With Green Peppercorn Sauce
Makes 4 servings

For the duck breasts

  • 4 duck breasts, about 8 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  With a sharp knife, cut the flesh side of the duck breasts in a shallow crosshatch pattern.  Season with salt and pepper.

    Place a large skillet over medium-high heat until the pan begins to smoke and sear the duck, fat-side down, 2 minutes.  Pour off the grease and place the pan in the oven until the duck is medium-rare, 10 to 12 minutes.  Turn and cook the other side 1 minute.  Remove from the pan and pour off the grease.  The duck breasts will retain
    their heat while you prepare the sauce.

    For the green peppercorn sauce

  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns
  • 1 cup veal stock [recipe below]
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Place the pan the duck was roasted in over high heat and add the port and wine to the duck juices (be careful - they may ignite).  Add the peppercorns and any juices that have accumulated around the cooked duck breasts and scrape the bottom of the pan, bringing up the browned bits and incorporating them into the juices.  Boil for 2
    minutes, then add the veal stock and boil gently 5 to 6 minutes.  Swirl in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

    To serve

    Cut each duck breast on the bias into 8 to 10 slices and arrange on individual plates.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce, or to taste, over the duck and serve immediately.

    Veal Stock

  • 8 pounds veal bones
  • 2 medium onions, cut into medium dice
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into medium dice
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into medium dice
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    Arrange the bones in 1 layer in a large roasting pan or 2 smaller pans and roast 45 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and roast, turning every 10 minutes or so, until the bones and vegetables are golden brown, another 30 to 45 minutes.

    With a large spoon or tongs, transfer the bones and vegetables to a stockpot.  Pour off any fat from the roasting pan, add 2 to 3 cups water to the pan, and scrape up browned particles from the bottom.

    Pour the liquid into the stockpot over the bones and vegetables and add water as needed to cover them by 3 inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer 4 to 5 hours, skimming frequently.  When done, the stock will have full flavor and color.

    Strain through a fine sieve into a large pot and reduce over high heat until 2 quarts remain.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until the fat solidifies, and lif it off the soup.  Refrigerate up to 1 week.  After 3 days, bring to a boil.  Then boil, skim, and cool every 2 days; or freeze.