ffwd – twenty-minute honey-glazed duck breasts

This was one of those “I want to A) live in France and/or B) live where duck breasts are both easier to find and less expensive” challenges.

I’m sure that for those who live in the northern tier of North America (and other parts of the world!), this is a bit more reasonable for a “duck as an every-day-food epiphany”

When I finally tracked down a duck breast (and yes, the correct Moutard) at the fanciest store in town, I had a little sticker shock. That much, for an easy week-day dinner? But I went ahead, made my purchase. And I’m so glad I did!!

The good news is that there are few other ingredients, and because it is such a simple recipe, I wanted to use some other special ingredients. A wonderful (!) balsamic vinegar from Italy, and an amazing honey from Northern Arizona (pine flower!). There’s a lime in there too.

This is a super-simple recipe. First you heat the oven to 250 degrees. Then blot the duck so there’s no water on it. I salted and peppered it, then gave it a nicely patterened scoring. That’s so that when it’s browned, it shows a beautiful pattern (plus it allows some of the fat to be released).

Then it’s into a pan that’s been heated. Placed skin-side down, it is cooked for about 8 minutes. To be honest, mine really didn’t start to sizzle very quickly, but then got brown quite fast. I probably should have had the heat a bit lower, and then cooked it longer on that side.

The duck breast is then turned over  to cook for a bit more on the other side. The scoring really enhances the look. At this stage, it starts smelling great too!

Once it’s cooked a couple/few more minutes, it’s placed on some foil, covered up, and put into the oven for a few minutes. Since the oven’s only set at 250 degrees, it’s really not cooking longer, just kind of resting and finishing up with the heat from the stove.

Once the duck is in the oven, it’s time to make the glaze. The fat in the pan is all-but poured off. A couple of tablespoons of balsamic, a tablespoon of honey and the juice from a lime.

You reduce that just a bit, and the put the duck back into the sauce to glaze. I turned mine over so that it was well glazed in the pot, making sure that I still ended up with glaze to drizzle over the top!

Time to slice and serve the duck…

While the duck will likely not become my go-to quick meal, I can totally see using the same technique with chicken thighs, or even breasts, pork, or other meats. The quick reduction to pour over was so good I wanted to lick the pan. So, so good!

To go with, I decided to take Dorie’s advice, and made something like her broth-braised potatoes.  This isn’t the first time we’ve cooked root vegetables in broth, and this was just as good.

I didn’t have all of the correct ingredients, so I improvised. About 3/4 lb tiny yukon gold potatoes, about 3/4 c chicken broth (vegetable would be good here) – or it could be a combination with water. A small bay leaf, some garlic powder, a mixed dried French herb blend, a little dried lemon peel… I simmered everything but the potatoes for a couple of minutes, and then added them, covered the whole thing and let them simmer. About the time the potatoes were done, the broth had reduced to a nice sauce. All it needed was a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, and dab of butter. Excellent with the duck (and easy). I’m sure done properly with fresh garlic, herbs and lemon would have been even better, but this pantry version was good too.

Mine could have cooked another minute or two, though I like rare duck. Probably I was impatient with the “bring to room temperature” step. But this was excellent and easy, and a great technique. Delicious!

20 thoughts on “ffwd – twenty-minute honey-glazed duck breasts

  1. Looks great! I can’t help but wonder what duck costs in France, because the cost of it sure would keep it in “treat” territory, not “easy weeknight meal” territory, for me, at least. My supermarket won’t have any duck for another 2-3 weeks, so I’ll have to daydream about other people’s lovely ducks until then.

  2. Your duck looks amazing! I love your process photos! If duck is fast friendly week night fare in France… maybe a great steak could be for me here? If only price wasn’t an issue… 🙂

  3. LOL – it is consistently coming through that the duck was exxy – I am glad it wasn’t just me that thought so! It tasted good though, and yours looks superb.

  4. It’s interesting that we all have problems sourcing different ingredients. Duck can be found in every grocery store by me, but something like fresh corn on the cob, even in season, is more of a treasure hunt. Happy you were able to find everything you needed in the end, your meal looks delicious.

  5. I love how the scored duck skin looks. Unfortunately I couldn’t make this – all the specialty butchers were out of duck this week. I declared yesterday Turkish (Takeout) Thursday and get to live vicariously through you ladies. 😉 Have a great weekend!

  6. I think most of us wound up being a little more than expected, pan juices, from not letting the duck rest enough – but the taste was there so thats all that matters, right? 🙂

  7. Mmmm. I really wanted some potatoes with mine, they look great with the duck! That Pine Honey from AZ sounds really intriguing – do you think they have it in Sedona? We are going there next week. I wasn’t able to find the proper duck breasts – could only locate a whole duck in Palm Springs. Will try again hopefully with the correct duck breasts – they look larger than what we had. Happy French Friday!

    1. I bet they have some uptown. The honey is from a local grower – like maybe Black Canyon City honey. They have lots of varieties. I usually get it from their road-side truck in New River, but depending on how you’re coming down, you might not get that far. I actually am from Sedona (thus the “up north” references), but I haven’t bought it there. OH, there is a store in West Sedona called New Frontiers that might have it (or something like it) – wonderful natural foods market. Hope you have fun! It should be gorgeous next week!!!

  8. Wow! I agree the price of that lone duck breast was dear. It is gorgeous though, so perfectly rare. Is your new header a picture of the duck’s seared skin? I served our duck with lentils, but the potatoes sound great. I’ll check out the braised broth potatoes soon.

    1. It is! But that’s just for this post. I switched themes mainly so that I can select a featured photo for each post (it shows up on the iPad too). There’s one for the home page that stays the same. Hey, and thanks for noticing!! 🙂

  9. Over here in Malaysia we have to buy up the whole duck …parts are not sold in supermarket like you have over in the States. I gave this a miss coz the poultry seller doesnt sell just the breast, she insisted that I take home the whole duck, thus I have to forgo this recipe . After looking at yours, I regretted not taking home the whole duck 🙂

  10. Looks fantastic. I have never used broth on potatoes for cooking, only on rice. However,
    looking at yours, I plan on trying that method. Tricia and I both loved the duck recipe and will certainly be making it again.

  11. Looks delicious! I love duck, but have only recently begun cooking with it at home. The farm where I get my eggs and chickens just started raising ducks, so now I have a great source for them. And at a really reasonable price ($4/lb).

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