Couscous salad with duck breast

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I have to admit, we don’t always feel like eating the same dinner as the boys. If they get to choose, they will have fish finger, nuggets, pasta or pizza, all of which can be made into fairly tasty and healthy dinners with some tweaks, but we tend to postpone dinner until the boys are sleeping at least a couple of days a week. That means we need to find dinners that are not too heavy or time consuming to make as it is not healthy or pleasant to go to bed feeling completely stuffed. A type of salad with some protein is a great late dinner and this one is with couscous.

Couscous_IMG_5398Couscous is of course mainly carbs, but it contains some good nutrition too and if you use sparingly, it will give a good sense of feeling full without getting you to that stuffed feeling. Couscous contains some good dietary fiber, thiamine, niacin, vitamins B6, folate and high level of selenium. Adding some fruit and vegetable to the salad, you get a very decent meal when looking at the overall nutritional levels. For this salad, I used cucumber, red onion, paprika, melon, pomegranate and dates, with a drizzle of lime on top.

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When making dinner salads, I prefer to mix a little bit of vegetable and fruits, to keep a balance of acid and sweetness in addition to the carbohydrates and protein. When choosing fruit and vegetables for the salad, one should be vary of the protein and choose according to what fits with that. For this salad, I have used seared duck breast and some fresh acid fits very well with the dish. This is gained from the the pomegranate in this recipe and the little sprinkle of lime. The chopped dates also compliment the duck very well.

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Recipe: 
This recipe is intended for 2 people.
Couscous (follow the recipe and amount on the package for the number of people you are cooking for)
1/2 red paprika
1/4 red onion
1/2 pomegranate
1/4 cucumber
4-5 dates
1/4 honeydew melon
1/2 lime

2 duck breasts

Salt & pepper for seasoning
Chicken seasoning if you have one you like. I bought a delicious “homemade” one on our trip to Hopballe Mill.

Steps:
Turn on the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Chop all the vegetables into small bits.
Sear the duck breasts in a warm pan on the skin side. By doing this, you render down the fat and ensure a delicious and crisp skin. There is no need to add any oil or fat to the pan before putting the duck in as you’ll have plenty of fat from the duck. Once the fat is rendered down a bit, which normally takes about 5 minutes on a fairly high temperature, turn it over, season with salt and pepper and/or chicken spice and put the pan in the oven (or transfer to an oven proof dish) and cook for 10 minutes. I use a pan with a loose handle that I can take off when putting the pan in the oven.
Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the package. Most couscous is done in about 5 minutes.
Once the couscous is done, put aside to cool a little before mixing it with all the chopped fruit and vegetables. Squeeze some lime juice over and toss gently.
Once the duck is done, take it out of the oven and put on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes. Then slice into thick slices with a sharp knife.
Dish up the couscous salad and put one sliced duck breast on top. Serve with a glass of red wine if you want a treat.

Tip: 
You can use chicken breast or chicken leg instead of duck if you wish to or can’t find duck. If you use a completely different type of protein, you may wish to change up some of the ingredients in the salad too. You can easily add some more freshness by adding some orange, blood orange or clementines.

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Tip:
Save the fat! It may sound a bit weird, but you will see in the pan after cooking the duck breasts that there is a lot of fat left in the pan. This fat is actually very good as it contains high levels on monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce unhealthy cholesterol. I am no nutritional expert, but try to eat healthy and preserve and reuse what I can. You also get a good amount of Omega 3 and 6 from the duck fat.

If the fat is clean, meaning no other fats were added, I will pour the remaining duck fat into small containers once it is cooled a little and store in the fridge.

The duck fat is absolutely amazing for roasting fresh potatoes in a pan, giving a crisp and flavorful finish compared to using i.e. olive oil.

3 thoughts on “Couscous salad with duck breast

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