I love cooking duck breast; it’s so simple it’s almost difficult to get wrong. The biggest obstacle people face when cooking duck breast is the risk of overcooking.
Granted, this is how most people were thought to cook duck, but that was a long time ago; we’ve moved on since then.
Now it’s well known that duck is safe to eat with a medium rare cook. Not only is it safe, but it’s better. I prefer my duck rare, but if you aren’t up for that, do a medium rare.
Blackberry sauce is something that pairs well with duck, especially wild mallard breast. Blackberries are naturally tart, more than most other fruits in season that time of year.
It also helps that blackberry and duck season land around the same time. It’s nature’s way of telling you what pairs well together.
Tips For Cooking Wild Duck Breast
If you are completely new to cooking duck breast, I suggest you check out my article on that topic. It teaches you everything you need to know about cooking wild duck breast.
If you’re confident but need a little reminder, these tips should help you:
Room temperature – Before doing anything with your duck breast, take it out of the refrigerator and let it reach room temperature. This will ensure that the fat melts and we get a good cook throughout. Because duck breast cooks so fast, if you cook a chilled duck breast, it could still be cold in the middle when serving.
Cold Pan – Although we start with a warm duck breast, we also start with a cold pan. The aim here is to try and melt as much fat as possible. If you start with a hot pan, the duck breast will be overcooked before the fat melts.
Scoring – Like the other two tips above, scoring is also about managing the fat content of the duck breast. Score the duck in a criss-cross pattern, keeping the cuts relatively close. With wild duck, you might get away with a little less because the fat content is not as high.
Basting – I prefer to baste my duck breasts. Some people like to flip them, but for me, I get a more tender, juicer piece of meat by basting.
Wild Duck Breast With Blackberry Sauce
- 4 medium duck breasts (room temperature)
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 2 black garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- green beans for serving
- breadcrumbs for serving
- salad for serving
- Pat the duck breast dry and finely score. Generously salt and leave to rest while you start the sauce.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic. Saute until the shallots become translucent.
- Add in the blackberries and pour over the wine and vinegar, and cook until the wine halves.
- Add in the sugar and simmer for 15 minutes. Afterward, strain the sauce and set it aside for serving.
- Add the duck breast to a cold stainless steel pan and put it over medium heat.
- As the fat from the duck begins to melt, begin basting the duck. Cook the duck according to size (medium duck 3-4 minutes)
- Remove the duck breasts from the pan and place on a wooden chopping board skin side up to rest for 5 minutes.
- On the same pan as the duck, add the green beans and cook over medium heat in the duck fat. Near the end of the cook, sprinkle with bread crumbs
If using a duck breast with little fat, start the cook on a warm pan with a high smoking point oil, like avocado oil.
The sauce can be served strained or unstrained
Rusty enjoys connecting food and nature and has done so since a child. He was fortunate enough to explore cuisine worldwide and work at great European restaurants. He now enjoys thinking up new recipes that he can find around him in nature in North America.