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Dec 19, 2009 05:41 AM

Duck breast recipe without booze?

I bought two duck breasts at the Farmers Market yesterday. I have never cooked them before so I've been doing some research for recipes but most of them seem to contain some form of alcohol which I cannot have at the moment for medical reasons (I am sure most of it would be cooked off but I'd still rather not use it).

I have some root veg to roast as a side (parnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes and carrots) and I've got blackberries, red grapes, honey and loads of spices. I don't fancy Asian flavours or anything too heavy so any suggestions/recipes/ideas would be much welcomed!


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  1. they sear very easily in a hot pan. just cross-hatch the skin to help soften the fat. a gastrique is wonderful on duck and i often just brush it with pomegranate molasses.

    you could make a blackberry and honey sort of confit as a sauce which would be lovely. add some grated lemon or tangerine zest. personally, i'd add ginger, but not sure about you.

    1. Paula,

      As with all cooking you start with a blank canvas and then you create your picture. Using what you have on hand I would think of a couple of things right off the bat.

      Make a honey infusion using thyme or rosemary then coat the duck breast with it after you sear it, this will caramelize as you finish it in a hot oven. You can make a simple pan sauce while the ducks are finishing in the oven (use some of the honey if you want a sweeter sauce).

      Marinate the duck breasts in olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar. Make a balsamic glaze on the side. Roast you grapes in a very hot oven until slightly crisp. Duck can be sliced open on the plate, glaze painted in front with grapes as the garnish and your root veg on the side.

      1. Thanks. I think simple is best in this case. Would it be better to use blackberries or grapes for the sauce? I'm still undecided. Would sultanas go well as an extra addition?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paula76

          Fruit juices go very well with duck...try orange juice, pineapple juice, or blend some of them.

          1. re: Paula76


            If simple is what you are looking for than forgo a sauce.

            Almost everyone wants to pare duck with a fruit sauce, some of them are sweet, some are strong, and some are over-powering. Duck has a wonderful flavor on its own and much like a steak it can be served au natural with very little else done to it. S & P & garlic and a beautiful MR duck breast and you have a splendid meal.

            Do we always need a sauce with chicken??? Chicken has much less flavor than duck yet many people love a nicely seasoned and roasted chicken or a plain grilled chicken breast.

            Think about it, sometimes food tastes best unadulterated and simple.

            To your answer your follow up question if I had to make a sauce I would use the blackberries and make a gastrique out of it, like hoytoy suggested. If it was my choice I would the duck breasts just seasoned lightly and roast of the grapes if you want to. Roasted grapes are actually very good if you get the skins crispy, many people have never had them so it would be something new.

            Have fun, imho, it takes a whole lot to screw up such a delicious duck breast, serve it to me MR – M with NO seasonings or sauce and I would be your friend for life.

          2. I highly recommend this recipe, along with the salad that's part of the menu:


            It's delicious and super-easy!

            1. Thank you for your suggestions. I finally went for the blackberry sauce made as simply as possible and it was delicious. I marinated the breasts in a mix of olive oil, rosemary, balsamic, honey, garlic and pepper. I seared the breasts and reduced the marinade adding some chicken stock, more honey and the blueberries. I then finished in the oven until pink in the middle and served with the honey-roasted veg. Definetely a keeper.