Crispy Pan Seared Duck Breast with Zinfandel Raspberry Sauce

Pan seared duck breast cooked until the skin is golden brown and crispy and then topped with a sweet and spicy make ahead sauce of red wine, port, raspberries, and a little bit of honey. Great for date night, dinner parties, or a romantic Valentine's day meal.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 800 kcal
Author Just a Little Bit of Bacon


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

Duck Breast

  • 2 8 oz Pekin duck breasts, thawed if frozen
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper


Raspberry Zinfandel Sauce

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.)

  5. (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.

Duck Breast

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Recipe Notes