Crispy pan seared duck breast has all the ease and wow factor of a great steak with the added bonus of being something a little different to put on the table. Make a raspberry wine sauce, sear up the duck, pour some wine and you have a no-fuss date night dinner all done.
With Valentine’s Day coming (soon!!), I have put together a dinner plan for you. Because it’s good to have a plan. But don’t think you can only make this awesome duck recipe for Valentine’s. It is just as awesome any day of the year which you want to make a special day.
Earlier this week I shared my recipe for a Sparkling Rose Sangria and today it’s time for the main course! Coming up next is my Chocolate Panna Cotta. Add in some mashed potatoes or maybe some rice and a vegetable and you have dinner.
Duck breast is one of my favorite go-to ingredients for date night dinners and small dinner parties. It has a richness and elegance to it. And it’s so full of flavor and simple to cook! win/win
Yes, I said it. Simple.
Many people are all ‘oh, I’ve never cooked duck’ ‘it seems complicated’ and so on. But have you made a steak? Seared some meat in a pan and made a sauce? If you have done these things, then you’ve got this.
The only moderately complicated part of this recipe is making sure you score the skin of the duck before you put it in the pan. And, really, I have faith you can run a knife across the duck in a crisscross pattern. Takes 5 minutes and you’re ready to cook!
Okay, there is one more thing.
Do you have a Magret Duck Breast or a Pekin Duck Breast (also called Long Island Duck and the most common here in the US)? It will tell you on the package. Also, you can tell by the size. Pekin duck is about 8 oz per breast while magret duck runs about 12 oz per breast.
For this recipe I used Pekin duck. With their smaller size, it is easy to make them completely on the cook top. It’s just sear, turn, sear, done. For the larger breasts, I like to use a pan roasting method, and happily I shared a recipe using that method for Pan Roasted Duck Breast with a Port Cherry Sauce last year! So you can choose either cooking method and either sauce and mix and match as needed. 🙂
– Happy Searing, Annemarie
Crispy Pan Seared Duck Breast with Zinfandel Raspberry Sauce
Raspberry Zinfandel Sauce
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided - one to saute and two to swirl at the end
- 1 medium clove garlic, smashed
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup red zinfandel, or other fruity red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock, low or no sodium
- 1/2 cup ruby port
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
- 2 8 oz Pekin duck breasts, thawed if frozen
- kosher salt and fresh black pepper
Raspberry Zinfandel Sauce
- Take one tablespoon of the butter and melt it over medium heat in a saucepan or saucier. Once it bubbles up, add the garlic and shallot and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. While whisking, pour in the Zinfandel wine, chicken stock, and ruby port. Bring the sauce to a simmer while whisking frequently. Then add in the raspberries and honey.
- Increase the heat to bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Give the sauce a stir as needed and reduce the sauce to 1 1/2 cups. This will take about 15-17 minutes. The sauce will be thick with the consistency of heavy cream and coat a spoon. Taste the sauce and add chipotle pepper to taste.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the sauce into the strainer. Discard the solids. (At this point the sauce can be put into a sealed container and held in the refrigerator for up to one day.)
- (Do this step AFTER you sear the duck!) Once the duck is done and resting, finish the sauce. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/2 inch cubes and let it come to room temperature. Then pour the sauce into a clean saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Then remove the pan from the hot burner and begin swirling in the butter, one or two pieces at time.
- Take the duck breast out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to cook it. Score the skin by cutting it into a diamond pattern with cuts about ever half inch, being careful to cut just the skin and not the meat.
- Heat a heavy saute pan over medium high heat until it's hot enough that water skitters across the surface. Add the duck, skin side down, and reduce the heat to low. Sear the duck for 5-6 minutes on the skin side, checking to make sure the skin is browning but not burning. Once the skin is a deep, golden brown, turn the duck and cook until you reach medium rare, 125F-130F. This will take about 3 minutes longer.
- Transfer the duck breasts to a plate and let them rest about 5 minutes. Then slice them and arrange them on plates. Serve with the raspberry sauce.
- If you have large magret duck breasts (which are about 12 oz each), use my pan roasting method. This will allow the duck to cook through without becoming overly browned. Also, I find that one magret duck breast is sufficient for two people.
- Cream cheese mashed potatoes makes a great side for the duck. You can even make them ahead and then warm them through in a covered casserole dish while you are preparing dinner. Add a little more cream to the potatoes, then 350F for 30 minutes.
- For a gluten-free recipe, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the chicken broth (whisk it in) and use that instead of the flour.