Duck Breast with Red Cabbage Purée

By / Food / September 13th, 2023 / Like

By Alessa Valdez, executive chef at Phantom Creek Winery

Excerpted from ‘Okanagan Eats: Signature Chefs’ Recipes from British Columbia’s Wine Valleys’ by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Photography by Jon Adrian. Copyright © 2023 by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Recipes copyright © 2023 by individual restaurants. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Duck Breast with Red Cabbage Purée, Seared Red Cabbage, Pickled Cherries and Miso–Red Wine Jus

Duck and red cabbage are a classic pairing, but here Alessa Valdez, executive chef at Phantom Creek Winery, elevates it to something new and exciting. “The dish itself is very complex in layers and flavours, but it all works so well together,” Valdez says. “This is basically me on a plate.” You will need to start curing the cabbage twenty-four hours before you prepare it.

Serves 4


Seared red cabbage

  • 1 small head red cabbage
  • 1⁄4 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Pickled cherries

  • 120 g black cherries, pitted
  • and halved (about 3⁄4 cup)
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar, plus extra if needed

Miso–red wine jus

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely
  • chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 11⁄4 cups red wine
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 11⁄4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp miso paste
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Red cabbage purée

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head red cabbage,
  • cored and julienned
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 11/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp cold butter
  • 2 tsp salt


  • 4 (6-oz) duck breasts
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Flaky sea salt, such as
  • Maldon, to serve

Garnish (optional)

  • 4 leaves chicory, chopped
  • 4 leaves mustard greens,
  • chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt


Seared red cabbage

Cut red cabbage in half, then into quarters. (This keeps the cabbage core intact so it doesn’t fall apart.) In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except oil, and mix well. Lightly season both sides of quartered cabbage with the spice blend, making sure to get in between each layer. Refrigerate for 24 hours on a wire rack to cure. Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse off excess seasoning and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a frying pan or a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle oil over cabbage quarters, then sear each side for 3 minutes.

Transfer red cabbage to a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, until tender. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Pickled cherries

Meanwhile, place cherries and vinegar in a small bowl. Add extra vinegar, if needed, to cover. Set aside and allow to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Miso–red wine jus

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and just beginning to colour. Add garlic and sauté for another minute, until fragrant. Stir in sugar and cook for 1 minute, then pour in wine. Add thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, until wine is reduced by three-quarters and syrupy.

Pour in stock and bring to another boil. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until reduced by half. (It can be reduced further if you want a more concentrated sauce.) Whisk in miso paste.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return to the pan. Heat through and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in butter. Keep warm.

Red cabbage purée

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add cabbage and sauté for another 5 minutes, until softened.

Add wine and stir to deglaze pan. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until reduced by half. Pour in water and vinegar and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until cabbage is soft. Drain cabbage, reserving liquid. Transfer cabbage to a high-powered blender or food processor and purée.

Add mustard, butter and salt and purée again. (If purée seems too thick, thin out with the reserved liquid.) For a truly smooth purée, pass it through a fine-mesh sieve. Cool over an ice bath.


Using a sharp knife, gently score skin on duck breasts in a tight crosshatch pattern, spaced 1/8 inch apart. Season duck with salt, heavily on the skin side and lightly on the flesh side.

Place duck breasts, skin side down, in a large, cold frying pan. Heat pan over low to medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until fat begins to gently bubble. (If the fat is either silent or spitting, adjust heat accordingly.) Pour out rendered fat and pan-fry for 10 to 12 minutes, until skin is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 125°F. (If needed, pan-fry for another minute to colour the skin.) Flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until breasts register 130°F on an instant-read thermometer for rare. (Cook to 140°F for medium or 155°F for well-done.) Transfer duck to a cutting board and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.


Cut duck breast in half lengthwise and place on the left side of each plate. Season with flaky salt. Place cabbage purée next to the duck, then add seared red cabbage slightly overlapping the purée. Arrange pickled cherries evenly around the plates and drizzle miso–red wine jus in the centres. If using the garnish, combine chicory, mustard greens, oil and salt in a bowl and toss to coat. Add to plates and serve.

As co-founder of Edible Vancouver Island, Dawn Postnikoff shares her passion for coastal living and the local food and beverage culture with the Edible community. Having left the corporate world to become a golf course and restaurant owner in 2008, she now organizes several events and festivals each year, works closely with her local chefs’ association and promotes culinary tourism throughout the region. Dawn is mom to five “mostly grown-up” children and loves spending time outdoors when she isn’t playing in her kitchen or sipping wine with friends.

Joanne Sasvari is the editor of the magazines YAM, Vitis and The Alchemist and writes about food, drink and travel for Edible Vancouver, Destination BC, Food & Wine magazine and various other publications. She is also the author of the IACP-shortlisted book The Wickaninnish Cookbook, as well as Vancouver Eats, Island Eats and Paprika. In addition, she is a Canadian Wine Scholar, Level II BC Wine Ambassador and certified to Level III by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.


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