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Coffee-rubbed Duck Breast with Black-eyed Pea Ragout, Collard Greens & Sour Cherries

coffee rubbed duck

Presented by King Cole Ducks


  • 1 L (4 cups) brewed coffee
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries, crushed


  • 2 tbsp ground coffee
  • 2 tbsp ground juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • 2 duck breasts
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Flaky sea salt

Sour cherries:

  • 1 jar (about 500 mL) sour cherries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 125 g (1/4 lb) bacon, diced
  • 1 yellow cooking onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200 mL (about 3/4 cup) white wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (about 500 mL) black eyed peas, drained
  • 500 ml (about 2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp minced rosemary
  • 1 tbsp minced thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • Salt, pepper

Collard greens:

  • 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ yellow cooking onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 250 mL (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt, pepper

4 Servings

To prepare marinade combine coffee, shallots, garlic, honey, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and juniper in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and cook – stirring occasionally – for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place duck breasts in a snug non-reactive container. Add the marinade, cover, and transfer to refrigerate overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours). Meanwhile, prepare dry rub by combining ground coffee, ground juniper, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

For the ragout, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan on medium. Add bacon and stir until lightly browned – about 5 minutes. Lower heat and and add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned – about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and stir. A minute later add tomato paste and white wine, raise heat, and reduce. Add peas, stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Season with Worcestershire, tabasco, salt and pepper and simmer uncovered until stock thickens and flavours meld – about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.

Cut collard leaves into pieces – about 4 cm (2 inches) wide. Heat oil in a large sauce pan on medium. Add greens, onion and garlic, and stir until greens begin to wilt. Add stock and liquid smoke. Simmer on medium heat until leaves are tender – about 15 minutes.

Transfer cherries and their liquid to a saucepan. Add sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the liquid thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon – about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove duck from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with dry rub on all sides. Heat an oven proof skillet on medium-high heat and add oil. When it begins to shimmer, carefully add duck breasts skin side down. Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes. Return to stove top on medium heat, add butter and baste until duck is medium rare – about 2 minutes. Remove to a cutting board to rest.

Meanwhile, heat the ragout and the collard greens. Finish the greens with lemon juice and butter. Warm the cherries. Place a mound of ragout and greens along the centre line of four warm plates. Slice the duck against the grain and arrange portions alongside. Drizzle cherries and their liquid overtop, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve.

Robbie Hojilla
ROBBIE HOJILLA - HARBORD ROOMBorn in the Philippines and raised in Toronto, Robbie Hojilla has always had an iterest with the craft of cooking.  His memories of the food he grew up with and extensive travels through Europe, Asia and the UNited States have all contributed to his culinary style.  He landed his first restaurant job at the legendary Centro and worked his way through Toronto at other notable restaurants such as Bistro & Bakery Thuet, Lucien, Woodlot and Hudson Kitchen.  He is currently executive chef at The Harbord Room where he serves simple but well executed food using local ingredients and global influences.
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