- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 3 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon whole juniper berries, plus 1/3 cup coarsely ground juniper berries
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 whole boneless duck breast, split in half (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
- Thinly sliced French bread, accompaniment
- Creole mustard, accompaniment
- Pickled onions, accompaniment
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, garlic, and 1 teaspoon whole juniper berries.
- In a saucepan combine the water, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat, add spice mixture, and steep for 1 hour. Place the duck breast in a glass or plastic container. Pour the seasoned brine over the duck to cover completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours, turning the breasts several times.
- Remove the duck breasts from the brine and rinse thoroughly under running water. Pat dry with a towel.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed juniper berries and ground black pepper. Using the palm and heel of your hands, press 2/3 of the berry and pepper mixture into the underside of the breasts. Press the remaining mixture onto the skin side. Place the breasts, skin side down, on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove and let cool for 30 minutes. Wrap the breasts tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before using.
- To serve, remove the meat from the plastic wrap and slice thinly. Serve with sliced French bread and other accompaniments as appetizers or hors d'oeuvres.