This recipe is from “The Cheese Bible” by Christian Teubner, which is, criminally, out of print. Because of its limited availability, the price of this book is rising; You can find it here, and if you have any kind of love for fine cheese (or want to develop such a love), this is a beautiful book to start with.
Breast of Duck with Chianti-Poached Pears and Roquefort Sauce
For the Chianti-Poached Pears:
2 Pears, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 cup Chianti, 1 1/2 inches cinnamon stick, 2 whole cloves, 2 crushed peppercorns, a pinch of ground cardamom
For the Sauce:
1/2 onion, finely diced; 2 teaspoons butter, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup red wine, 1 cup duck roasting-juices or duck stock, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 oz. Roquefort, salt and white pepper
You will also Need:
2 duck breasts, skinned and boned (10 oz. each), salt and white pepper, 2 tablespoons clarified butter, mint for garnishing
Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Lightly caramelize the sugar in a saucepan and pour in the Chianti. Add the spices and bring to a boil. Place the pears int he liquid and poach gently for about 10 minutes, remove the spices, and reserve the pears.
To make the sauce, sweat the onion in the butter until golden brown and moisten with the vinegar and then pour in the cream and cook the sauce until creamy. Strain the sauce and work in the Roquefort with a hand-held blender or whisk. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
Salt and pepper the duck breasts. Melt the clarified butter, add the duck breasts, and fry for about 8-10 minutes, turning them often, until pink inside. Leave to rest on a rack.
Cut the pears part-way through at 1/4 inch intervals and fan out. Boil down the pear stock to about 1/4 cup and add it to the sauce, to taste. Slice the duck breasts on the diagonal, and serve with the fanned pears, duchesse potatoes, and the sauce, garnishing with a sprig of fresh mint.