Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Poultry Controversy: Chicken vs Duck

It wasn't very long ago that the FDA informed us that some chicken meat may contain cancer-causing arsenic. Although the FDA stressed that it is contained in very small levels, it is still something that can be found in chicken meat overall as it is an ingredient found in the actual feed given to many chickens which are harvested for consumption.

The FDA conducted a study and found the following:

"In the study of 100 chickens, the FDA found that chickens that had eaten the Roxarsone had higher levels of inorganic arsenic – as opposed to organic arsenic, which is naturally occurring – in their livers than chickens which had not eaten the Roxarsone. Inorganic arsenic is more toxic than the naturally occurring form."

Click here to  read full article

I don't know about you, but any trace of arsenic in the foods I eat are a no-no in my book. Since this study came out, I have steered more towards eating duck. Recently cited in Bon Appétit magazine as one of the "10 Surprising Health Foods" and in Natural Health magazine as one of "10 Foods that Keep You Young." I figured why not give this breed of poultry a try. When compaired to the traditional lean meat choices on the market, it seems that duck does offer some competition in regards to calorie content and unsaturated fats. Not to mention, it offers so much more flavor!

For those of you who haven't yet tried duck, here's a great holiday recipe to start with. Please feel free to share your feedback and thoughts with us.

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce


  • 2 5- to 6-ounce duck breast halves or one 12- to 16-ounce duck breast half
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons tawny Port
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey


  • Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch). Discard plastic wrap. Using sharp knife, score skin in 3/4-inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh). DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
  • Heat your Ultra-Tech II 11 Fry/Saute Pan to high heat just to warm up pan. Season duck breast on skin side with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and add duck, skin side down, to skillet and cook until skin is browned and crisp. Make sure to remove the fat that is released into the pan regularly to make sure the duck breasts stay crispy. Turn breasts over, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes longer for small breasts and 5 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium low heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to medium and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.