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Honey Seared Duck Breast

Honey-Seared Duck Breast

Honey-Seared Duck Breast

Duck Breast is a meat that is often prepared poorly, and quality preparation can be subjective. Personally, I am not a fan of duck breast that is on the rare side. I prefer my duck breast to be cooked to medium-rare, and I think that many people who order duck in a restaurant (maybe for the first, and only time) are turned off by this. On the other hand, over cooked duck breast is equally disappointing. To reach the proper point of doneness, I like to cook duck breast slowly and periodically check it’s internal temperature until it reaches 130-degrees F.

Honey Seared Duck Breast

Duck breasts have a great deal of fat between the skin and the flesh. To render this fat out from the breast, scoring the skin and fat down to the flesh is very helpful. In addition to this scoring, a slower cooking process with the skin side down in a pan will also render the fat without over-cooking the meat. 

Honey Seared Duck Breast

On our Foodie trips to the Dordogne region of France, where duck (and goose) is king, I serve the seared duck breast with a sweet-wine reduction sauce, grapes and Pommes Sarladaise, which are thin sliced potatoes cooked in duck fat.

Honey-Seared Duck Breast

Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: EntreeCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 4 duck breast halves with skin (I like Maple Leaf Farm breasts - Pekin duck)

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1 Tablespoon honey

  • 2 cups of red grapes, cut in half (remove seeds if they are not seedless)

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme

  • Pommes Sarladaise
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes

  • 3 Tablespoons duck fat

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 1 Tablespoon sliced black truffles (optional)

  • Sauce Monbazillac
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon water

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 cups Monbazillac wine (sweet wine such as Muscat, Sauternes, Ice Wine)

  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter

  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste


  • With a sharp knife, cut a diamond-crisscross pattern in the skin of the duck breast to help render the fat while searing. The cuts should be 1/2-inch apart and only as deep as the fat. Try not to cut into the meat.
  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
  • Pat the breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over low to medium-low heat. When the pan is hot, lay in the duck breast skin side down. Cook the duck until the skin is very crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Keep the fat in the pan gently bubbling and pour out excess fat occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high and flip the breasts over and cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, pour out the fat and brush the breasts with the honey. Add the grapes and thyme sprigs to the pan.
  • Place the skillet in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the duck breast reaches 130-degrees F.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and place the duck breast on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Place the potatoes on a serving plate and slice the duck breast. Fan out the sliced duck breast on the plate and top with the grapes. Drizzle the sauce on the plate and serve. 
  • Pommes Sarladaise
  • Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the slices in a large bowl of cold water to rinse off excess starch, stir gently, pour off water and repeat 3 times.
  • Drain the potatoes and dry them in a salad spinner or lay them out on towels, patting them dry.
  • In a large skillet, melt the duck fat over medium-low heat. Add the potato slices, season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes (or until tender), stirring occasionally and browning slightly.
  • Add the chopped parsley and truffles to the pan, toss and adjust seasoning if necessary. 
  • Serve as they are or stack in a stainless steel ring for a more professional presentation.
  • Sauce Monbazillac
  • Place the sugar and water in a medium-sized sauce pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the sugar starts to caramelize and turn light brown.
  • Deglaze with the the vinegar and wine (the sugar will seize and harden), reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup.
  • Whisk in the softened butter and season.

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