Succulent pan-seared duck breasts served with an easy peasy pan sauce of red wine and prunes, embellished with aromatic allspice and bay leaf. I served this with a mixture of wild and brown rice and roasted broccoli and my husband absolutely loved it!
12 pitted prunes
4 duck breast fillets, with skin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves, broken in half
6 allspice berries
225ml red wine
125ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon, optional
1 knob butter
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Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cover the prunes in boiling water from the kettle and let soak while you prepare the duck.
Pat the duck breast dry on both sides with paper towel. Score the skin with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut into the flesh. Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron frying pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook until the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook the breasts for 1 minute on the flesh side, then turn back over once again.
Immediately transfer to the oven and cook for 4 to 6 minutes for duck still pink in the centre (cook 2 to 3 minutes longer for well done).
Remove the duck from the frying pan and place on a warm plate and loosely cover with a piece of foil to keep warm. Pour all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of duck fat from the pan into a jar and reserve for another use.
Place the pan with the remaining duck fat over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bay leaves and allspice. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is soft and has taken some colour. While the onion is cooking, drain the prunes and roughly chop.
Pour in the wine, stock, sugar and prunes. Add the cinnamon, if using. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to the boil. Allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by at least half and coats the back of a spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.