As the summer wanes we have been trying to cram as many good things into the remaining days as possible. To this end, the boys and I have spent some blissful afternoons at a nearby arboretum. The weekends bring the crowds of wedding parties so we journey there on weekdays.
The peace of the gardens is broken only by the songs of birds, the crunch of the gravel paths as we walk along, and the sounds of the boys running and playing by the brook meandering through a bamboo forest.
Many months ago, when I was not physically, emotionally or spiritually well, this place brought me healing. I distinctly remember walking alone in the cool of an April day with the sunshine on my face. I was suddenly struck by how soothing it was to be out in the beauty of creation. I have always enjoyed nature but on that day it felt as if a warm and healing blanket wrapped itself around my shoulders.
God was there with me. I know this as much as I know my own name. Something in my heart and soul communed with the beauty around me.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
Did you get that last part? “My souls knows”
I believe God implanted something special in all our human hearts. When we experience beauty, the “something” in our souls recognizes and appreciates it. We may have stifled this over time with our busy, stressed-out lives, but it is there if you listen to it.
My realization about the healing qualities of nature led me to make it a habit to enjoy something beautiful every day. For you this might be listening to a piece of beautiful music, reading a poem, smelling a flower, stopping long enough to feel the breeze on your face or simply gazing at the moon – anything that causes you to stop, even for a few seconds, and appreciate the beauty you encounter everyday in large and small ways. I guarantee you it is good for your soul no matter how healthy you are. And if you are searching for healing, appreciating beauty, like a dose of medicine, will provide a small measure of what you need.
This recipe for Crispy Duck Breast with Chipotle Orange Sauce is spicy and delicious. The sauce itself is very simple and easy. It’s a perfect dish to make on a busy day – whether it be a work day or one in which you are blessed enough to be able to enjoy the great outdoors.
Crispy Duck Breast with Chipotle Orange Sauce
- 2 (1-lb) boneless Muscovy duck breasts or 4 (1/2-lb) Long Island (Pekin) duck breast halves – with skin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chipotle Orange Sauce
- 3 cups fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup*
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or more if you like it really hot)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt (celtic sea salt)
- 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat (optional)
Instructions for Chipotle Orange Sauce
- Combine the Chipotle Orange Sauce ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Reduce until you have about 1 cup of sauce. (Approximately 20-30 minutes)
- Cool the sauce somewhat then strain through a sieve.
Instructions for Crispy Duck Breast
- Rinse and pat dry the duck breasts with paper towels.
- Score the skin and fat of the duck breast, being careful not to cut into the flesh.
- Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Heat a pan on medium-high heat then place the duck breast, skin side down, in the pan to sear. You do not need to add any oil or fat to the pan prior to placing the duck breast.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until much of the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy – approximately 8 minutes for Muscovy duck breast and 4 minutes for Long Island or Pekin duck breasts. Flip the breasts over and continue cooking to desired doneness. I recommend cooking until the internal temperature, as measured by a meat thermometer, reaches 130 degrees.
- Remove the duck from the pan and allow to rest for about five minutes prior to slicing.
- Add two tablespoons of the rendered duck fat to the Chipotle Orange Sauce and save the rest for future use. (store in the refrigerator)
- Serve the duck breast slices with the warm sauce immediately.
Even though this post features duck breast, I highly recommend this paleo Chipotle Orange Sauce for other meats as well. We have used it on roasted turkey breast and it was perfect.
*If you are following a “strictly paleo plan” or a Whole30, this recipe would work well – minus the maple syrup. The sauce can be made without the syrup, it will just be somewhat more tart. It tastes so delicious that you should not be surprised if I post a Chipotle Orange Ice Cream or Sorbet recipe at some point! No kidding.
I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to appreciate beauty. How has this impacted your life?
Thanks for stopping by. Have a beautiful day.
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