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Duck breast with plum sauce on a black plate.
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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine international
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 621kcal
Author Aleksandra


duck and the sauce:

  • 1 large duck breast about (450g/16 oz)
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plum jam or red/black currant, cranberry, lingonberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 cardamom capsules lightly crushed
  • a big pinch of ground black pepper
  • 4 plums

to serve:

  • ½ cup rice
  • cilantro and sesame seeds optional, as garnish


  • Score the skin: Using a sharp knife, score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern (try not to cut the meat).
  • Marinate the meat: overnight or longer, max. for 2 days. Prepare a small pot - the meat should be almost completely submerged in the marinade, you can also use a thick ziplock bag. Whisk the ingredients for the marinade (red wine, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, jam, and spices), bring them to boil then leave to cool. Add the duck breast, skin-side up, cover, and put in the fridge.
  • On the second day: Preheat the oven to 212°F / 100°C.
  • Sear the meat: it's best to use an oven-proof pan but if you don't have such pan, just use a regular skillet then transfer the meat to a small baking dish.
    Remove the meat from the marinade, pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place in a cold (!) pan, skin-side down. Turn on medium-low heat and cook for a couple of minutes or until the skin is browned and the fat rendered. Don't cook it over too high heat, the fat needs to be rendered slowly. It's good to weigh the meat down so that the skin that be browned uniformly - you can place a loaf pan on top of the meat and put an olive oil bottle on top to weigh it down. Turn the breast on the other side and cook briefly, until the meat is browned. Leave a tablespoon of fat in the pan and discard the rest.
  • Bake: Place the duck breast in a small baking dish (I used a 20 cm/8-inch oven-safe pan). Pour in the marinade. Cut the plums in half, remove the stones, arrange them around the meat. Place the dish in the oven.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 55-60 minutes or less, to your desired doneness. After this time the duck should be around 150°F (66°C). It should come to the 'well-done' temperature (160°F/71°C) while resting.
    If you prefer your duck breast medium, bake it for about 45 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 best to use a grill thermometer to measure the temperature!*).
    It’s important to cook the meat to a temperature and not to time, you can measure internal temperature with an instant thermometer (stick it into the thickest part of the meat). Well-done duck breast (safe for kids to eat) should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 71°C / 160°F. Remember that after removing the meat from the oven, its internal temperature will continue to rise.
  • Remove the dish from the oven. Transfer the meat to a plate, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and leave to rest for 5-10 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 5 minutes over medium heat until thickened. Discard cardamom capsules, star anise, and cinnamon stick.
  • Serve: Cut the duck breast into thin slices against the grain*, pour the sauce over, serve with cooked rice and roasted plums. Optionally, sprinkle with coriander leaves and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!


  • The grain of the meat is referring to the direction the muscle fibers run within the piece of meat. Cutting against the grain means to cut through the fibers and make them shorter. 
  • 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.
  • Stovetop-only version of the recipe (for small duck breast or if you don’t want to turn on the oven):
    • Score the skin and marinate the meat as described above.
    • 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 meat as described above.
    • Add the sauce and simmer the duck in the sauce until the desired temperature has been reached. Take off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  • It's best to use a grill thermometer with a long probe. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat and let the meat cook with the probe in it. The cable will go outside, through the oven door, to the appliance. Set the appliance to the temperature you plan to cook the meat to, it will beep once the meat reaches preset temperature. 
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe), rice is included. This is only an estimate!


Calories: 621kcal