Duck Pastrami

4 to 6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole juniper berries, plus 1/3 cup coarsely ground juniper berries
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 whole boneless duck breast, split in half (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • Thinly sliced French bread, accompaniment
  • Creole mustard, accompaniment
  • Pickled onions, accompaniment
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, garlic, and 1 teaspoon whole juniper berries.

  • In a saucepan combine the water, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat, add spice mixture, and steep for 1 hour. Place the duck breast in a glass or plastic container. Pour the seasoned brine over the duck to cover completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours, turning the breasts several times.

  • Remove the duck breasts from the brine and rinse thoroughly under running water. Pat dry with a towel.

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

  • In a small bowl, combine the crushed juniper berries and ground black pepper. Using the palm and heel of your hands, press 2/3 of the berry and pepper mixture into the underside of the breasts. Press the remaining mixture onto the skin side. Place the breasts, skin side down, on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Remove and let cool for 30 minutes. Wrap the breasts tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before using.

  • To serve, remove the meat from the plastic wrap and slice thinly. Serve with sliced French bread and other accompaniments as appetizers or hors d'oeuvres.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes

  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

  • Inactive Prep Time: 9 days

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