Caramelized Duck Breasts

I recently learned the best way of cooking duck breasts with the fat on is from cold. My suspicion is that it lets the fat run better. This recipe uses that method and adds a little extra flavour with an oriental twist, along with an oriental style vegetable accompaniment. This is clearly Chinese in spirit, if not in actuality.


serves: 2
preparation time: 15 mins
cooking time: 25 mins


  • 2 duck breasts
  • juice & zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 250g broccoli spears (purple sprouting works)
  • 2 cms fresh root ginger, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 medium red chilli, seeded & finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, skinned & finely sliced
  • 200g Puy lentils
  • olive oil


Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Mix together 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and tablespoon of caster sugar, then set aside.

Cover the lentils with cold water in a small pan, bring to the boils and simmer unsalted for 20-25 minutes until just tender. Strain and reserve the lentils.

Score a diamond pattern in the duck skin and fat (not the flesh) with a sharp knife. Place the scored duck breasts skin side down in a cold heavy roasting pan. Put the cold roastng pan over medium heat. Let the pan come up to temperature and cook the skin side of the breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is nicely golden brown. Flip the duck breasts over and brush the skin with the orange, soy and sugar mixture. Bang them in the top of the oven until the skin is crisp and golden, basting occasionally with the pan juices. About 15 minutes should have them done medium – still pink in the middle. Remove the breasts from the oven and rest them for 5-10 minutes in a warm place.

While the duck is roasting, steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes until just tender, then cut into 3-4cm lengths. Heat a glug of olive oil in a small frying pan and add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir for a minute before adding the lentils and cooked broccoli. Stir through the remiaining orange juice, soy sauce and the grated orange zest. Heat gently until hot.

Slice the rested duck breasts on the diagonal and serve alongside the vegetable mixture. Drizzle over any accumulated pan juices.

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