Duck breast is just ideal for sous vide cooking as it is best cooked medium rare. You will need to cook the duck breast sous vide for around three hours at a temperature of 135°F (57°C). To really add the icing on the cake, go for Duck A L’Orange for that perfect French cuisine.
When you cook your duck breast at 135°F for at least 3 hours you will find that the fat under the skin will become soft, and render out and the proteins contained within it will start to set. This will enable you to make it nice and crisp after cooking. Prior to cooking your duck breasts, let them sit in the fridge overnight uncovered so that some of the moisture can evaporate.
Recommended reading: Ultimate Guide to the Best Sous Vide Vacuum Sealers
Because the duck skin is a bit thicker you can produce a gentle crisping effect after your duck breast sous vide cooking. There is no need for very high heat searing like you would do with a steak that has been cooked sous vide. The duck skin is a very good insulator, and you will find that the breast meat will not change color. What you will get is very evenly cooked meat that is very tender and crisp.
If you are cooking Duck A L’Orange for two people then it is recommended that you use the following ingredients:
Two duck breasts (6 ounces each)
The juice and the zest of an orange
A shallot that has been peeled and cut into quarters
4 garlic cloves that have been crushed
4 sprigs of thyme
Unsalted butter sliced into pieces
Ground black pepper
The Cooking Process
The day prior to cooking it is recommended that you place the duck breasts on a plate lined with a paper towel, and leave them in the fridge all night.
Set up your best sous vide machine and fill the water bath. Set the sous vide cooker or immersion circulator to 135°F (57°C) and heat the water to this temperature.
Now you want to season the duck breasts with salt, and use sous vide bags or zip lock bags to place the breasts in. Add orange juice and zest, shallot, thyme, garlic and black peppercorns to the bag before you seal it. Now place the bags into the heated water bath, and set the timer on your suvee cooker (or external timer) for at least 3 hours.
After Sous Vide Cooking Your Duck Breasts
Once the cooking time is up you will need to remove the bags from the water bath. Take the duck breasts out of the bags, and then use paper towels to pat them dry. Now you want to make light criss-cross patterns on the skin with a knife, but be careful not to dig into the meat.
Use a sous vide torch or skillet on medium to high heat, and place the duck breasts with the skin side down in the skillet. You can sear for up to 5 minutes according to your taste. Transfer to a cutting board and cover.
Get rid of the rendered duck fat and add vinegar to the skillet and simmer. Add the stock from the cooking bags and bring this to a simmer. Now add the butter and take the skillet off of the heat. Add salt and pepper if required.
All you have to do now is slice the duck breasts and add the orange sauce to serve.