As a single person who loves to cook but has limited time, I’ve struggled with the same dilemma for years: I love food, but I don’t love leftovers.
I don’t mind eating the same meal a second time or sometimes a third, but beyond that, I just can’t do it. If I eat leftovers too often, I end up hating the recipe and won’t make it again for years. This can be frustrating, since most cookbooks and online recipes produce four servings or more, and sometimes you can’t reduce them neatly. If anyone has suggestions, for instance, on how to divide an egg in half for a reduced recipe, I’m all ears.
With these struggles in mind, I went looking for a small serving cookbook here at the library. I was lucky to stumble across Eating Well Serves Two, which has simple two-serving recipes. It also has nice, full-page pictures, which always makes me more likely to try a recipe. I settled on a recipe for Pomegranate Duck because last year I read that studies have found pure pomegranate juice to be one of the most effective foods for cancer prevention. Ever since, I’ve kept some on hand to drink a few times a week. The other ingredients are pantry staples that I had on hand, except for duck (I am not that fancy), which I substituted with chicken.
1 pound boneless, skinless duck breasts (or chicken)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 450F
Sprinkle duck with salt. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the duck and cook until browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck to a small baking dish and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150F, 8-12 minutes for medium, depending on the size of the breast. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest 5 minutes
While the duck is roasting, return the pan to medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Stir broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch dissolves. Add to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. When the duck has finished resting, pour any accumulated juices into the sauce and stir to combine.
Thinly slice the duck; serve topped with the pomegranate sauce. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Overall, I enjoyed this recipe, which I served with roasted, seasoned broccoli. I would make a few changes before making it again, though. I diced the shallot rather than finely chopping it, and it would have made for a more pleasant appearance and texture to chop it in a food processor. I also might use a half shallot rather than a whole one, since the flavor was a tad too oniony, and I would definitely follow the timing instructions for the sauce more carefully. I let it boil a little too long, and it ended up being thicker than I intended. This recipe is a useful template, however, and I suspect the sauce would also be good if made with cranberry, orange, or blueberry juice and with various kinds of poultry, beef, or pork.