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Slow-roasted duck breast with plum sauce

10 December 2018 | Last Updated: 26 December 2018

Duck breast with plum sauce

Tender duck breast in aromatic plum sauce with cinnamon, star anise and cardamom. The sauce is really delicious and quick to make.

The meat is quickly seared in a pan, then roasted in the oven at low temperature. Thanks to this method, it comes out tender, never rubbery and bakes evenly.

Duck breast is a red meat, so we need to treat it like a steak. The most juicy and soft duck breast is pink in the middle. Decide for yourself how you like it. I prefer my duck breast ‘medium’, but I’m preparing it ‘well done’ for my little daughter (source). ‘Well-done’ duck breast won’t be of course super tender and juicy, but it’s still much better than pan-seared-only or roasted at high temperture meat. If you don’t have an instant thermometer yet, it’s really worth to buy one. It’s a must have when you want a juicy and tender duck breast. I described every step thoroughly in the recipe below.

Marinating meat is very important, it needs to be marinated at least overnight, or even for two days if you have time.

If you have small duck breasts (eg about 200g) or you don’t feel like turning on the oven, you can also prepare the duck only on a pan. You should give this recipe a try anyway, because this sauce is so delicious!

For the plum sauce lovers I also have this recipe: Chicken with vegetables and noodles in Chinese plum sauce.

Method description is a bit long, but I hope it won’t discourage you. It’s better to write too much than not enough, right? It’s really super quick to make, preparation time is maximum 15 minutes. The rest of the time the duck is in the oven.

About the baking method, I’ve read about it in Harold McGee’s book “On Food and Cooking“, where he writes: „At low oven temperatures, below 250ºF/125ºC, the moist meat surface dries very slowly. As moisture evaporates, it actually cools the surface, so despite the oven temperature, the surface temperature of the meat may be as low as 160ºF/70ºC. This means relatively little surface browning and long cooking times, but also very gentle heating of the interior,minimal moisture loss, a relatively uniform doneness within the meat, and a large window of time in which the meat is properly done.”

Slow-roasted duck breast with plum sauce
Slow-roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Slow-roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Recipe for duck breast with aromatic plum sauce with cinnamon, star anise and cardamom. The duck is pan-fried, then roasted in the oven at low temperature.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 people
Calories 1334kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

the duck:

  • 1 large duck breast about 450g/16 oz or 2 small breasts, about 200g/7oz each

marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plum jam or red/black currant, cranberry, lingonberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ cinnamon stick preferably Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 cardamom capsules lightly crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

additionally:

  • 5 medium plums

to serve:

  • ½ cup rice 100g/3.5 oz
  • fresh coriander leaves and sesame seeds optionally, for sprinkling

Instructions

SLOW- ROASTED VERSION (better for large duck breast):

  • Marinate the meat: overnight or longer, max. for 2 days. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern (but not the meat, otherwise it can dry out, scoring the skin makes rendering the fat easier).
  • Prepare a small bowl (the meat should be almost completely submerged in the marinade, you can also use a thick ziplock bag). Mix the ingredients for the marinade, add the duck breast, skin-side up, cover and put in the fridge.
  • On the second day: Preheat the oven to 120°C / 250°F.
  • Sear the meat: remove from the marinade, pat dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Place on a cold (!) pan, skin-side down, turn on medium heat and cook for about 4 minutes and then 2 minutes on the other side. Skin should be browned and crispy and the fat rendered. Remove excess fat (but reserve it and use to fry potatoes). Leave a teaspoon of fat in the pan.
  • Bake: put the duck into a small baking dish. I used a 20 cm/8-inch oven-safe pan, the same pan that I used to sear the meat. Pour in the marinade and about ¼ cup of water, the amount of water depends on the size of the dish used (you should have minimum 1.5 cm / ½ inch liquid in the pan). But more water = reducing the sauce takes longer. Cut the plums in half, remove the stones, arrange around the meat. Place the dish in the oven.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or less. After this time the duck should be ‘well-done’, internal temperature should be around 70°C / 160°F. If you prefer your duck breast medium, roast them for about 30 minutes, to 60°C / 140°F. Medium-rare is 52°C / 125 °F . The baking time will depend on how long you’ve seared the meat in the pan and how big your duck breast is. It’s important to cook the meat to temperature not to time, you can measure internal temperature with an instant thermometer. Well-done duck breast (safe for kids to eat) should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 71°C / 160°F. After removing the meat from the oven, its internal temperature will continue to rise. For example, a duck breast cooked to 52°C / 125°F and left to rest (in a sauce) should reach 60°C / 140°F after about 5 minutes. Instant thermometer should be sticked into the thickest part of the meat.
  • Remove the meat from the oven, leave in the sauce and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the sauce: If the plums are very soft, remove them from the sauce, but leave harder fruits in (very soft plums will fall apart completely while reducing the sauce). Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes over medium heat until thickened. Discard cardamom capsules, star anise and cinnamon stick.
  • Serve: Cut the duck into slices, pour the sauce over, serve with cooked rice and roasted plums. Optionally, sprinkle with coriander leaves and sesame seeds.
  • How to cook rice: Add ½ cup of rice into a medium pot, pour in 1 cup of boiling water, season with salt, cover, bring to a boil over low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or until rice absorbs water and is soft.

PAN-SEARED VERSION (for small duck breast or if you don’t want to turn on the oven):

  • Marinate the meat: overnight or longer, max. for 2 days. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern (but not the meat, otherwise it can dry out, scoring the skin makes rendering the fat easier).
  • Prepare a small bowl (the meat should be almost completely submerged in the marinade, you can also use a thick ziplock bag). Mix the ingredients for the marinade, add the duck breast, skin-side up, cover and put in the fridge.
  • On the second day:
  • Remove the duck from the marinade, pat dry thoroughly with kitchen paper and set aside.
  • Prepare the sauce: Add the marinade into a medium pan, cut the plums in half, remove the stones, arrange in the pan skin-side down. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until thickened. Set aside. Discard cardamom capsules, star anise and cinnamon stick.
  • Sear the duck: Place on a second, cold (!) pan, skin-side down, turn on medium heat and cook until the skin is browned and crispy and the fat rendered. Flip the meat over and cook until browned. Remove excess fat (but reserve it and use to fry for example potatoes). Leave a teaspoon of fat in the pan.
  • Add the sauce and simmer the duck in the sauce until desired temperature has been reached. Take off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  • It’s important to cook the meat to temperature not to time, you can measure the internal temperature with an instant thermometer. Stick it into the thickest part of the meat. ‘Well-done’ duck breast – the internal temperature is about 70°C / 160°F, medium – 60°C / 140°F, medium-rare is 52°C / 125 °F. The cooking time will depend on how long you’ve seared the meat and how big your duck breast is.
  • After removing the pan off the heat, the internal temperature of the meat will still continue to rise. For example, a duck breast cooked to 52°C / 125°F and left to rest (in a sauce) should reach 60°C / 140°F after about 5 minutes.
  • Serve: Cut the duck into slices, pour the sauce over, serve with cooked rice and roasted plums. Optionally, sprinkle with coriander leaves and sesame seeds.
  • How to cook rice: Add ½ cup of rice into a medium pot, pour in 1 cup of boiling water, season with salt, cover, bring to a boil over low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or until rice absorbs water and is soft.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 1334kcal
Course dinner
Cuisine asian-inspired, international
Keyword asian duck breast, duck breast with plum sauce, slow-roasted duck breast

DUCK BREAST WITH PLUM SAUCE – STEP BY STEP:

Did you make this recipe? Let mi know how you liked it in the comments below!

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