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Dennis MacDonald’s Duck Breast With Couscous, Cajun Aioli And Vanilla Pickled Carrots


Chef Dennis MacDonald hails from Miramichi, NB. In this recipe, he serves his duck breast on a bed of vanilla pickled carrots, with couscous and aioli made with Lawry’s Cajun Seasoning.  A great combination of savoury flavours perfect for fall cooking.


Baharat Seasoning:

Duck Breast:

  • 4 ea Duck breasts
  • Baharat Seasoning (Above)
  • ½ tsp Salt, to taste

Vanilla Pickled Carrots:


  • 1 c Chicken stock
  • 1 c Couscous
  • 1 ea Red bell pepper, brunoised
  • 1 ea Shallot, brunoised
  • ¼ c Almonds, sliced and toasted
  • ½ tsp Salt, to taste

Cajun Aioli:

  • 1.5 c Canola oil
  • 1 ea Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Lawry’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 ea Egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ea Lemon, Juiced
  • ½ tsp Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp Water

For the Duck Breast:

  1. Trim the duck breast of excess fat from sides. Score diagonally shallow. Pat dry and season with Baharat Seasoning and a pinch of salt on the fat side.
  2. In a non-stick pan heat canola oil on high until smoking. Add the breast skin side down and reduce heat to medium high to render some of the fat out.
  3. Flip over and finish in an oven at 400-degrees F until medium (approximately 4 minutes).

For the Couscous:

  1. Bring chicken stock (1 cup) to a boil and add couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Once hydrated transfer to a sheet pan and completely cool in the fridge.
  3. Heat a pan on medium high with canola oil.
  4. Add red pepper and shallot and sauté until translucent.
  5. Add couscous and almonds and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
  6. Season with salt.

For the Cajun Aioli:

  1. In a medium-sized pot add Cajun seasoning, garlic clove and enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot and submerge the spice. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute then remove from the heat and add the remainder of the oil. Allow to cool and infuse for 1 hour.
  2. Strain through a thin towel or fine mesh strainer and reserve the oil.
  3. To make the aioli place the egg yolk, mustard, and lemon juice in a bowl and while vigorously whisking slowly add the oil infusion until completely incorporated.
  4. Season with salt to taste.

For the Vanilla Pickled Carrots:

  1. Bring the sugar, vinegar and dill to a gentle simmer. Once at a simmer cut the heat and add the pure vanilla extract.
  2. Pour over the thinly sliced carrots and cover. Allow to completely cool in the pickling liquid.

For Serving:

Place two piles of warm couscous on the plate in the lower half. Trim the top left and bottom right corners of the finished duck breast so that when sliced on the bias it will lay flat with the cut side facing up. Season the cut side with salt, add carrots and add aioli dots around the plate.

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