Sam cut open a green mango and two ripe mangoes, but finished neither. I used both to cook this dish. Half a duck breast proved more than enough for one person; it’s good for sharing although you may need a small side dish to make sure that all hunger pangs are satisfied.
A few things about cooking duck breast before going to the recipe. Duck breast is popularly cooked like steak in the northern hemisphere with options to serve it rare, medium rare or well done. I’ve done that once — seared the duck breast in a pan, roasted it in the oven, let it rest, sliced it and served the duck slices on a bed of creamed spinach. It was good, it was something “new”, the dish was pretty and eating it was kind of a gourmet experience. But since I’m not a huge fan of steak, I never cooked duck breast that way ever again.
In this recipe, the duck breast was seared in a hot pan just to give the skin a good color and texture. Then, it was braised in pureed green mango seasoned with salt, sugar and sliced chilies. When the duck was cooked through, I sliced it and arranged it on a plate. I strained the green mango sauce to make it smoother. For the finishing touches, slices of bright yellow mango, more finely sliced chilies and cilantro.
Duck braised in green mango sauce
- Score the duck skin by making diagonal shallow cuts all over at half-inch intervals. Repeat going the opposite direction. Sprinkle the duck breast on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat a non-stick pan. Lay down the duck breast, skin side down, and cook over high heat until nicely browned. Move the seared duck breast to a plate.
- Pour off the rendered duck fat and reserve for another use (see list of dishes using duck fat below the recipe).
- Pour the green mango puree into the pan. Stir in the sugar and chilies. Put the duck breast, skin side up, back in the pan. Cover and braised the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. If the sauce turns dry before the duck is done, add water but no more than two tablespoonfuls at a time. You really don't want to thin the sauce too much. Taste the sauce too every time you check the liquid. Add salt, if needed.
- Take the duck out of the pan. Slice thinly and arrange on a plate.
- Strain the sauce. Push as much of the pulp through the strainer. Discard the rest.
- Pour the sauce around the sliced duck breast. It is ready to serve at this point. If you're up for a little extra work, add sliced ripe mango on the side and sprinkle the duck with more sliced chili and cilantro.
To make fresh green mango puree, just throw diced green mango into the blender or food processor, add enough water to help the motor along and process into a smooth paste.
Some recipes using rendered duck fat: