Seared Duck Breast With Plums and Port

Recipe by xtine




  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the port, the shallot, ginger, red pepper flakes, cumin and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Trim away the silverskin from the meat side of the duck breasts and trim away any excess skin and fat along the edges. Score the skin by making diagonal cuts just through the skin at 1/8-inch intervals. Put the duck breasts, skin side up, on a large rimmed plate and pour the marinade over them. Marinate, turning the breasts over once or twice during the process, for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • To cook the plums and make the sauce:
  • Heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Season the plums with salt and pepper and cook, tossing them occasionally, until they are browned, about 5 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, transfer the plums and most of the butter to a plate. To the pan the plums were cooked in, add the remaining 1 cup of port and the chicken stock. Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and pour the marinade into the pan as well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced by almost half. Add the browned plums to the sauce and continue to cook over lowest heat until the plums are tender (the time it takes for all this to happen is about the same time as it takes for the duck to cook).
  • To cook the duck:
  • Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Heat enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the duck, skin side down. As the meat cooks, fat will render. Pour this fat off, using a large spatula or plate to hold the breasts in place. Keep pouring off the fat as the duck cooks, adjusting the heat if the skin begins to burn (use your nose to detect any burning, as the sugar in the port as well as the soy sauce will blacken the skin). While the duck cooks, check on the sauce; if it seems to be reducing too much, remove from the heat.
  • Turn the duck over when almost all of the fat in the skin has melted away and the skin is dark and crispy, about 12 minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes on the flesh side. Take the pan off the heat and let the duck rest in the pan off the heat for at least 5 minutes before slicing it. At this point you can heat up the plum sauce over low heat, if you had to take it off the heat earlier because it was in danger of becoming too reduced.
  • To serve:
  • Remove the duck breasts to a cutting board, skin side up. Pour any juices (but not the fat) from the sauté pan into the pan with the plums. Slice the breasts across the grain into thin pieces, about 6 slices per breast. Place the duck slices neatly on each plate. Spoon some sauce and plums onto each plate.