Divine Boneless Duck Breast With Port Wine Sauce

"I first found and tried this recipe in 1999 on Epicurious. It does take a lot of work but it is so worth it! The sauce can be made the day before and slowly reheated. This is divine duck! But(hiccup), here's the lesson I learned, don't drink too much wine while making it or you'll get lost in the many steps."
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Ready In:




  • marinade:

  • In a bowl whisk together the wine, the vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, gingerroot, oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put the duck breasts in a large resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over them, and seal the bag.
  • Put the plastic bag in a large bowl and let the duck marinate, chilled, overnight.
  • Remove the duck from the marinade and pat it dry between layers of paper towels.
  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife and sprinkle both sides of the duck with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat 2 heavy skillets over moderately high heat until they are hot and in each skillet cook 1 of the duck breasts, skin side down, for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the duck and cook it for 2 minutes more.
  • Transfer the skillets to the middle of the preheated 450°F oven (wrap the skillet handles with a double thickness of foil if the handles are not ovenproof), and roast the duck for 5 to 7 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 145°F to 150°F for medium meat.
  • While the duck is roasting, in a small heavy saucepan combine the sugar and the water, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and boil it, swirling the pan, until the mixture is a golden caramel. Add the vinegars carefully, swirling the pan until the caramel is dissolved, and reserve the mixture.
  • Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let it stand, covered loosely with foil, for 5 minutes.
  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from 1 of the skillets and in the fat remaining in the skillet cook the shallot and the garlic over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is softened.
  • Add the dry red wine and boil the mixture until it is reduced by half.
  • Add the broth, boil the mixture until it is reduced by one third, and pour the mixture through a fine sieve set over the reserved vinegar mixture, pressing hard on the solids.
  • Whisk in the cream and the Port, simmer the mixture for 1 minute, and add the beurre manié, a little at a time, whisking until the sauce is smooth.
  • Simmer the sauce, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes, whisk into the sauce any juices that have accumulated on the cutting board, and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the duck diagonally across the grain into thin slices, divide the duck slices among 8 plates, and spoon the sauce over the duck.
  • **A beurre manié is made by kneading together 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

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  1. I really enjoyed this, although I didn't bother transferring the duck to the oven I just finished it in the pan. I added some mushrooms to the sauce, and missed out the water/sugar step as suggested by MariaLusia and thought it tasted lovely. My only criticism would be that the recipe made far too much sauce - I reduced the quantities for 2 and still had twice as much sauce as I needed - seems like a waste of wine and port to me!!
  2. I'm really torn. The marinade, the cooking method, and the cooked duck were great -- five stars all the way. The sauce, though, was unbearably sweet, unrelieved by the vinegary overtones, And the cream and beurre manié produced an unappetizing puce color. I can recommend the duck without hesitation, but next time I'm going to skip the sugar business and deglaze the pan with wine, broth and port, eventually thickening the sauce with a bit of cornstarch.


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