Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 18, 2013 04:56 PM

Duck- What did I do wrong tonight?!

Tomorrow night I have a dinner date coming over (so I hope someone can answer asap) and I am making duck so tonight I practiced and am very glad that I did.

Earlier this week I made amazing duck breast (in the first picture) and skin was so crispy, there was no fat at all and the meat tasted lovely even though I hadnt made duck in well over a year.. which is why I wanted to practice tonight to gain confidence.

It was not a confidence boost... Tonight the only thing I did differently was use a lower temperature on the stovetop for 8 minutes or so for the skin to look crispy then, like last time, put it in oven at 400 skinside up over for 6 minutes. The result are in the second picture.. the angle int great and I wasnt planning to post this so it doesnt look very nice. There was fat left (not palatable) and the meat did not taste good.

I'm pretty sure the issue is just about rendering the fat properly but I didnt think that it would affect the taste of the meat so much. Instead of using some a low stovetop temp (around 4) I think I should try more like 6 or 7 which is what I did last time. I couldnt eat more than half the duck breast.. it tasted really gamey and nasty... but I do love duck!

In case you are wondering the wontons in the picture I made stuffed with cognac and white wine mushrooms they were great.

What do you think went wrong?
What would you serve with duck breast for a date?
When cooking two duck breasts do I have to leave it in the oven slightly longer or the same amount of time as one?
Im wondering is the whole duck breast was undercooked tonight, not just the fat which might explain the different taste?

Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It sounds like you know what your doing, so don't lose confidence!

    For the skin - You seemed to answer that question yourself. Timing sounds right, but definitely keep that temp higher - should be medium - high. And don't forget to sear the other side for a minute or so before putting in the oven at 400.

    If the taste/texture of the meat was off, could it have been a variation of the duck? Was the duck sourced from the same place? Reputable place? Farm raised? Also, the oven time... I typically do 7-9 minutes, but that could just be variation.

    3 Replies
    1. re: redips

      Thanks! They are all from Lac Brome in Quebec which is very well known for its ducks.

      Im so glad that I screwed it up tonight in a way because at least I can learn from the mistake and not have to apologize for serving bad food.

      The only reason I tried the low temperature is because I read it somewhere...

      Do you bother with a meat thermometer? I use one for roast chicken but not chicken breast and didn't use it on any duck breast Ive ever made.

      1. re: kpaxonite

        Of course... I probe everything.

        Take it out at 127ish for medium rare 130. I also heard you can start in a cold pan, but never tried it out.

        1. re: redips

          I start in a cold De Buyer pan. It works great! I can vouch for that method!

    2. It appears to be undercooked, with excessive fat. The flesh, fat, and skin deserve attention like a concert with a crescendo.

      1. I try to score the duck breast (light slashes using a very thin and sharp knife) as it lets the fat escape a bit faster.

        Not sure how it would work with just a duck breast, but many cookbooks recommend scalding a whole duck a few times in boiling water (I was also told by a coo in Taiwan to add honey and lemon to the water). Then, I air dry it and roast it.

        1. I score the skin and start in a cold pan then increase the beat as the fat renders. Cook mostly on the skin side and finish briefly on the flesh side

          My last duck breast

          1 Reply