Cooking with duck meat might seem intimidating but it’s quite easy. Check out these sensational duck breast recipes and learn how to cook them perfectly.
Who else thinks that duck meat is highly under-utilised as a protein source? I often order duck when I eat out and I have also cooked it at home on many occasions, but there are many people that have never tried it or they simply never use it in home cooking.
People think it’s too expensive (actually, duck is about the same price as chicken), it’s not always noticeably available, or they are not sure how to cook it.
In today’s post, I am going to give you a few tips on how to easily cook duck breast (we’ll start there) and share 15 duck breast recipes that are healthy and delicious.
Duck is a great source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and essential minerals. Like chicken, it belongs in the poultry group, although its meat is darker in colour and has a more flavoursome, distinct flavour than chicken.
When cooked, it develops a lovely umami (savoury) flavour and is even a little salty without any seasoning. When cooked correctly, it is juicy and tender, and the duck fat is….oh-so-tasty! No wonder the French love cooking with it.
Speaking of duck fat, it has its own unique nutrition points. Unlike chicken fat, duck fat is quite low in polyunsaturated acids. Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturated (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats. So its composition is actually closer to olive oil.
Why is this important? Because these lower levels of polyunsaturated fats mean less of the often troublesome omega-6 fatty acids. This gets even better with wild duck meat.
It’s important to source good quality duck meat from ducks that have been raised ethically, with a good diet and plenty of sunshine and space. In general, duck growers are small operations, partly because duck is perceived to be fit for a special meal or a restaurant-only menu, so the demand is not as high as for chicken. As with most poultry, duck meat has a much lower footprint on the environment than say red meat.
Duck is not difficult to prepare, and if you buy from the right source, you can feel assured that you are not supporting ill factory farming practices. Look for duck meat in the poultry section of the supermarket or chat with your butcher.
What Goes Well With Duck Meat?
Duck meat goes really well with sweet and sour food pairings – think caramelised onions, balsamic reduction, orange sauce, hoisin, dried and fresh fruit. It likes warm spices such as cinnamon, pepper, Chinese five-spice powder, allspice, vanilla, and fennel.
You can serve it with roasted vegetables, anything cabbage, fresh salads, and it’s great in curries. There are many ways to serve duck (see more ideas below) but to start you off, I am going to give you a simple method for how to cook duck breast at home.
How To Cook Duck Breast
- Bring the duck breasts to room temperature before cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Salt will help to draw out the fat while the meat is cooking. You can also season with other spices. You can score the skin if you wish. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F.
- Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a cold skillet. Then turn the heat to medium. This will start to cook the skin gradually, allowing the fat to render (or dissolve) without getting overcooked or burnt too quickly. Cook skin side down for about 10-12 minutes.
- When the skin is golden brown and crispy, and the fat layer has visibly reduced, turn the duck breasts over and cook flesh side down for 2 minutes. You can bathe the duck with some of the rendered fat. And you can remove some of the excess fat from a bowl. Reserve this liquid gold for later as you can use it to cook veggies.
- Then transfer the duck breasts to the hot oven, either in the same pan if it’s oven-proof or place them on a roasting tray. Finish in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Then remove, turn upside down (to let the juices flow back) and rest for about 5-6 minutes.
- Facing the duck’s skin side up, cut the breasts into thick slices. It should be pink and juicy on the inside.
Another way to cook duck breasts is by roasting them in the oven. Heat the oven to 200 C/ 400 C. Place the breasts, skin side down on, on a flat oven tray and pop them in the oven, the middle shelf. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the meat over and cook for a further 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing.
Best Duck Breast Recipes
I’ve collated some tasty and exciting recipes using duck breasts.
1. Duck Salad With Balsamic Cherries
2. Paleo Peking Duck Pancakes
3. Apple Bacon & Duck Salad From The Domestic Man
4. Seared Duck Breast With Balsamic Green Beans From Three Beans On A String
5. Roasted Duck With Mole & Cranberry Sauce From The Wicked Spatula
6. Roasted Duck Breasts With Raspberry & Orange Sauce From Comfort Bites
7. Peking Duck Breast With Clementine & Spices From Cuisine Addict
8. Seared Duck Breast With Pomegranate Reduction From The Roasted Root
9. Roasted Caraway Roots With Duck Breast & Smoked Paprika Dressing From Natural Kitchen Adventures
10. Duck Breast With Cherry Jus & Celeriac Puree From Foodie Story
11. Duck Breast With Roasted Plums, Ginger & Szechuan Pepper From Paleo Diet & Fitness
12. Duck With Raspberry Sauce From Paleo Leap
13. Home Cured Duck Ham From And Here We Are
14. Macadamia Duck With Roasted Veggies From Rubies & Radishes
15. Duck With Lavender, Fennel Purée & Peach Purée From Great British Chefs
My Homemade Hoisin Sauce (Goes Well With Duck!)
Do you have a favourite recipe for duck breast? Share with me below.
Love a good homemade hoisin sauce. I use cashew butter for mine, love it! Thanks for including my duck with caraway roasted roots recipe!
I have access to frozen wild duck breast, but the skin has been removed. How can I work with this meat and be Whole30 compliant?
You can use it in pretty much the same way as you would chicken: pan-fry it, roast it, use it in curries. I think simply pan-fried duck breasts with sautéed onions and apples or other fruit (peach might be nice or cherries) would be very nice as duck goes well with a little sweetness and whole fruit should be okay on Whole30. Otherwise, simply season it with some herbs and spices and you’re golden.