One of the by-products of raising ducks for foie gras is the delicious morcel known as magret de canard (fat duck breast). They are widely available in the late autumn and winter, as the foie gras ducks are slaughtered for their livers to be prepared for Christmas.
Duck meat is traditionally often paired with white beans in France, with the southern dish cassoulet being the most well known recipe. White beans go under a variety of names in French. They might be mogettes, lingots, cocos or haricots blancs.
Here I am combining a simple way of cooking duck breast with a simple winter side dish of white beans and vegetables.
2 fat duck breasts (magrets de canard)
Half a celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
6 chard leaves, coarsely shredded
A large can of white beans
- Place a cast iron pan in the oven and turn the temperature up to its maximum.
- Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towel.
- Score the skin of the duck in a diaper pattern then rub a pinch of coarse salt into the cuts. Put aside at room temperature to cure a bit.
- Heat some duck fat in a large frying pan.
- Saute the celeriac for a few minutes until just cooked and starting to brown.
- Add the chard, cover with a lid and wait for it to wilt and cook.
- Add the can of beans with their liquid, mix well and cook for a few minutes until the beans are heated through.
- Once the cast iron pan is smoking hot, place the duck in the pan, skin side down.
- Cook for 10 minutes in the oven then remove, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Season the beans and vegetables with pepper.
- Slice the duck breast and serve with the beans. Serves 4.
Excellent local duck breast can be purchased from the farm shop at Maison Perrin. The vegetables for this recipe came from my local market garden Les Jardins Vergers de la Ferme de la Petite Rabaudière, who sell from the farm every Tuesday evening or from a stall on Preuilly market every Thursday. The SuperU supermarket at La Roche Posay stocks locally grown and processed white beans sold in glass jars.