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Pan seared duck

Pan-Seared Five-Spice Duck Breast with Balsamic Ju

The first time I made duck, I prepared traditional Peking duck using two enormous birds special-ordered from the butcher. After three days of painstaking preparation, every surface of my kitchen was covered in duck fat, and the ducks had shrunk down so much I only had a few ounces of meat to serve the six people walking through my door for dinner.Duck breasts are the answer! You can find them in the freezer section of your market if you can't find fresh, or you can special-order them from your butcher. They're much less fatty than duck legs or thighs, and they don't shrink much at all. In this recipe, the sear on high heat gets the skin nice and crispy. Aromatic five-spice powder gives the duck an exotic flair. An easy pan sauce results from deglazing the pan with wine and balsamic vinegar.An elegant Alexander Valley Cab is a perfect match and stands up to the aromatic spice rub.  




Serves 6

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 single duck breasts
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil¼ cup dry red wine, such as Hanna Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar



Step 1


In a large, heavy self-sealing plastic bag, combine the garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, salt, and pepper. Add the duck breasts, seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.


Step 2


Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sear the duck breast, skin side down, for 5 minutes; turn and sear for 5 minutes on the other side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck breasts to a plate and keep warm.


Step 3


To make a balsamic jus, pour off the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the wine, and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook to reduce the wine by half. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook to reduce for several more minutes.


Step 4


Cut the duck breasts into diagonal slices and serve drizzled with the balsamic jus.