Pan seared duck with blackberry bourbon sauce
This recipe for pan-seared duck breast takes us back to the basics.
At the heart of every recipe for wild game, there are steps to just plain cook your meat the right way. When folks complain about the flavor, moisture and texture of wild game, they probably haven’t cooked it right.
All you need for delicious pan-seared duck breasts is duck fat and some salt and pepper. I personally recommend dipping into your store of duck fat for the extra boost of flavor.
For this recipe, we’re adding a sweet yet mature blackberry bourbon sauce to top off the pan-seared duck breast. You’re in control of your sauce’s consistency, whether you like it more runny like a fresh maple syrup or thick like a gravy. Keep an eye on the sauce as it simmers; the longer you let it cook down, the thicker it’ll be.
Your blackberry bourbon sauce will be juiciest when blackberries are in season, between May and September in the U.S. Served with a lowball of bourbon neat or my black raspberry Old-Fashioned, this meal can warm you from the inside out any time of year. Based on the tasting notes, I’d suggest pouring out a Woodford Reserve, Four Roses Small Batch, Four Roses, Booker’s or Knob Creek.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients for Slayer’s pan-seared duck breast with blackberry bourbon sauce
For the blackberry bourbon sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the duck:
- 4 duck breasts, skin on
- 1-2 teaspoons duck fat or butter (duck fat is best if you have it)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
How to make pan-seared duck breast with blackberry bourbon sauce
- Before beginning, set the duck breasts on a paper towel-lined plate and score the skin. To score, slice through the skin with a sharp knife without cutting the meat. Let the duck breasts come to room temperature while you assemble the sauce.
- To make the sauce, add the butter to a small saucepan. Let the butter warm over medium heat and add the garlic.
- After about 1 minute of cook time, add the thyme leaves. Cook for an additional minute before carefully adding the bourbon, balsamic, maple syrup, blackberries and salt.
- Let the mixture come to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the berries start to break down well. After reaching your desired consistency, remove it from the heat and set aside.
- In a large pan, preferably cast iron, add the duck fat or butter. Heat over medium until the pan is hot.
- Pat the duck breasts very dry with your paper towel and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper.
- Lay the duck in the hot pan skin-side down and cook for about 5 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Flip the breasts and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches about 125F. Cook times may vary depending on the size of your bird, so be watchful.
- Remove the duck from the pan as soon as it reaches 125F and place it on a cutting board to rest. Let it rest for at least 8-10 minutes while you ready your plates and the sauce for serving. Don’t skip this step; it’s so important for juicy duck.
- When you’re ready to serve, slice the duck if desired and pour on a generous amount of sauce.
Pan-seared duck: Nutrition facts
Nutrition facts: 1 duck breast with sauce
10.3 g total fat
135.6 mg cholesterol
697.7 mg sodium
9.2 g carbohydrate
6 g sugar
33.7 g protein
Allie Doran is an author, TV personality, wild game recipe developer and photographer residing in Pottsville, PA. She is the creator and creative director behind the popular food blog Miss Allie’s Kitchen, which focuses on publishing updated comfort food recipes and inspiring others to live joyful and healthy outdoor lifestyles. She is the proud wife of an avid outdoorsman and embraces her role as “mom” with the utmost gratitude & enthusiasm. When she isn’t playing outside with her daughter & black lab, hiking with the whole family, or creating new recipes, you can find her enjoying a glass of wine on the patio.