I’m a big fan of plucking ducks to cook whole, but sometimes a time crunch means we just pluck the breast area, remove the breast meat with skin on, and skin out the legs and thighs for other recipes. Skin-on breasts are the perfect choice when you need a quick meal because they cook fast and taste great, particularly when topped with this simple sauce made with plum jam and Evan Williams Outdoorsman Edition Bourbon.
We serve the breast over rice and with a nice salad and some bread for a restaurant-quality meal that can be whipped up in minutes.
Sear the duck in a cast-iron skillet with a bit of high-smoke-point oil like peanut or grapeseed. It takes only 3 to 5 minutes per side for a nice medium-rare finish. Once the duck is ready, move it to a warm platter and build the sauce in the pan. Return the duck to the pan to warm it back up and spoon the sauce over before serving.
6 mallard or other large duck breast halves, skin on
2 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
Bourbon Plum Sauce
1 cup plum jam (I used damson plum)
1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Start by heating a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut or grapeseed oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Mix the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and rosemary. Sprinkle it evenly over both sides of the duck.
Sear the duck, skin side down first, for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the breasts and sear the opposite side for a similar time or until it reaches desired doneness. Move the duck to a warm plate and loosely tent with foil.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter and diced shallot to the pan. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shallot is soft and translucent.
Add the plum jam, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, grated ginger, rosemary, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and the sauce to thicken. If you don’t want to use bourbon in the recipe, substitute 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water.
Return the duck breasts to the pan and spoon over the sauce to coat. Serve with rice and sides of choice.
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