Bistro Duck Breasts

Bistro Duck Breast

Duck breasts are one of my favorite things to make for a quick and elegant dinner. Originally created for Episode 308, Season 3, of Sara’s Weeknight Meals, this “cook once, eat twice” recipe gives you a head start on the next night’s entree, Peking Duck Wraps.


Recommended side dishes: coucous and butter braised baby carrots

Makes 4 servings

6 Peking duck breast halves
Kosher salt
1 shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Score the skin on each duck breast half in a crisscross pattern and sprinkle it lightly on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat two large skillets over medium high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium and place 3 of the duck breasts, skin side down, in each skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the skin looks very crispy. Do not pour off the fat; the liquid fat in the pan helps to render out the fat in the skin. When the duck skin is crisp remove the duck to a plate, pour off almost all of the fat from each pan, except for 2 teaspoons and reserve it for another use, such as sauteeing vegetables. Return the duck to the skillet, meat side down and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more for medium rare. Remove the duck to a clean plate, skin side up; cover it loosely with foil and let it rest while you make the sauce.

Add the shallots to one of the skillets and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the shallots are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze the second skillet with the chicken broth, scraping up the brown bits and take the pan off the heat. Add the wine to the shallots and simmer until reduced by half. Add the chicken broth and the coarsely crushed black pepper and simmer until reduced slightly. Whisk the cornstarch mixture to make sure the cornstarch is dissolved and whisk it into the chicken broth mixture. Simmer, whisking for 1 minute. Add the juices from the resting duck, the mustard and salt to taste. Add the butter and swirl the pan until the butter is just dissolved.

Slice 3 ½ of the breasts thin and divide them among 4 plates, top each portion with one fourth of the sauce. (reserve the remaining 2 ½ breasts for the Peking Duck Wraps).

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2 Responses to Bistro Duck Breasts

  1. Ruth Prim says:

    Dear Sara,
    I have been following you for years and years. The very first time I saw you on TV, you finished a recipe (I wish I could remember what you were making; it was a desert) and placed the pan in the oven. A second or two later, you said “whoops”. You took the pan out of the oven, added an ingredient (you forgot), stirred the pan and placed it back in the oven. I know this seems like such a silly thing but at that point, you filled a special place in my heart. You see, my grandmother, Olive was the all time original “whoops” baker! Every time I see you, I think of her. Thank you for your commitment to good food and showing us how to make it 🙂
    Ruth Prim

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