Crispy Skin Duck Breast with Ukrainian Polenta Class

Chef Anna
Cook time: 120 minutes
Servings: 2
Difficulty: Intermediate

Members only

Before you start

  1. Please note that this dish requires you to temper and salt the duck 20 minutes prior to the class.

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to properly sear duck breast to perfection, achieving a crispy skin and tender, juicy meat.
  • Creating a divine apple compote, the perfect companion for duck, pork, or other indulgent meats.
  • Crafting a lusciously creamy, no-stir polenta crowned with crunchy shallots.

Mise En Place

Paper Towels
Chopping Board
Slotted Spoon

Shopping List

For the Duck

6-8 oz Duck breast, 2x

Large fuji apple, 1x

Small lemon, 1x

Balinese Truffle Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Sunflower oil, 2 tbsp

Butter, 1 tbsp

Brown sugar, 1 tbsp

Hard apple cider, 1/2 cup

Chives, 1 bunch

For Mamalyga

Large shallot, 1x

Mozzarella, 4 oz

Chicken stock, 3 cups

Water, 1 cup

Balinese Truffle Salt, to taste

Ground white pepper, ¼ tsp

Polenta, 1 cup

Sunflower oil, 1 cup

Garlic, 1 clove

Butter, 2 tbsp (room temperature)


  1. Peel and cut the shallot in half. Slice into little half moon shapes.
  2. Mince the chives.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Fill a small bowl with cold water and the juice of a lemon. This acidic solution will prevent apple slices from oxidizing. Core the apple and slice ¼ inch thick; place them into the lemon water.
  5. Grate the mozzarella.
  6. With a sharp knife, lightly score duck skin diagonally in two directions, taking care not to cut too deeply and expose the meat.

How to cook

  1. To Make The Mamalyg
  2. Bring stock and 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  3. Stir in a small pinch of salt, minced garlic and white pepper. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly.
  4. Heat for another minute, and remove from the heat. Cover with a tight lid and let stand 45 minutes.
  5. To Make Crispy Shallot
  6. Pour the sunflower oil into a medium skillet or saucepan.
  7. Add the sliced shallot and place it over medium heat.
  8. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until they gradually become golden brown.
  9. Fish out the crispy shallots with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to bloat. Save oil for another purpose.
  10. To Make The Duck Breast
  11. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the sunflower oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  12. Pat dry and season the duck breasts with salt and black pepper.
  13. Reduce the heat to medium and add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and cook for about 7 minutes, constantly spooning hot melted fat over the breast, until the skin becomes crispy and golden brown.
  14. Flip the duck breasts and cook for another 30 seconds on the other side, or until they reach your desired level of doneness. For medium-rare, the internal temperature should be around 122°F.
  15. Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing.
  16. While the duck breasts rest, discard any excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon.
  17. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it melt.
  18. Pat dry the apple slices with a paper towel. Then add the sliced apples to the pan and cook them over medium heat until they caramelize and turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  19. Sprinkle with brown sugar and let it melt for about a minute.
  20. Then pour in the hard apple cider and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the alcohol to cook off and the flavors to meld.
  21. Slice the duck breasts diagonally into ½-inch thick pieces.
  22. Place on a serving platter and top with caramelized apple, the sauce from the pan, and finely chopped chives.
  23. To Finish The Mamalyga
  24. After letting the mamalyga rest for 45 minutes, return the saucepan to low heat and stir in the grated mozzarella and room temperature butter.
  25. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the cheese and butter, breaking up any lumps that may have formed during the resting time.
  26. Continue to stir until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
  27. Taste the mamalyga and adjust the seasoning with white pepper as needed. Remember that the grated mozzarella adds some saltiness, so you may not need to add more salt.
  28. Spoon mamalyga into a deep serving dish and top with crispy shallot. Serve the duck, apples, and mamalyga together!

From the chef

Join us on a culinary journey with Chef Anna this fall as she unveils a cherished family treasure - her Grandmother's Duck! Chef Anna fondly remembers the gatherings around her grandmother's whole roasted duck filled with apples. She has infused that same love into these duck breasts, creating the perfect weeknight meal. Paired with the Eastern European dish, mamalyga, a creamy polenta that complements the duck perfectly, this class is a holiday treat you won't want to miss!

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