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Perfect Duck Breast

How to cook the perfect duck breast

If you know me, you know I love my meat – a good steak, some crispy pork belly and I’m a happy man. But if there’s one meat that I will admit I play favourites with, it’s duck. I love it so much, I once woke my then girlfriend – now wife – in the middle of the night by shouting “Bangkok duck! Duck in brown sauce” in my sleep. You know it’s true love when instead of breaking up with me for that midnight heart-attack, she took me to Bangkok for my birthday to eat that duck. We sadly don’t get enough duck here, and when we do it’s tough, gristly meat. But we do get the occasional duck breast, and when it’s cooked perfectly, let me tell you, it’s a luxury. No other meat even compares.

 

So why duck breast? It’s actually perfect for Keto because it has that gorgeous layer of fat under the skin. Ducks are migratory birds, and just like us they need a good layer of fat to carry them through their long winter journeys – from their homes to our plates. (I apologise for that fowl joke.) To cook duck breast correctly, you have to render that fat, which helps you get that skin crispy. The end result is three textures in one – crispy skin, melt-in-the-mouth fat and juicy, tender meat underneath. Slather it with a sauce of your choice or just eat it straight off the pan as I do. It’s heaven.

Alright I’m sold. What are the pressure points here?

Honestly, it’s the easiest thing to cook if you just pay a bit of attention. A sharp knife will serve you well to score the fat. A meat thermometer will take the guesswork out of knowing when the duck is perfectly done. Oh and remember to start cooking the duck in a cold pan for the fat to render out properly. A cast iron pan is preferred because it can go straight into the oven, but if you don’t have one, a regular non-stick one will work as well. You’ll just need to take the breast out of the pan and transfer it to a baking tray that has been preheating in the oven. Please do not stick your non-stick pan in the oven unless you enjoy a spot of polymer fumes poisoning.

Also remember to let the duck breast rest – if you cut into it too early all the juices will flow out of it and you’ll end up with a dry, unpleasant piece of meat. And DO NOT throw away the rendered duck fat – it’s liquid gold! Use it in place of butter or oil in anything you’re making and you’ll kick the flavour of it up several notches.

perfect duck breast

What can I eat the duck breast with?

I just like to keep it real simple and eat it as is, but I’m also partial to sliced duck breast on rice, with my easy chicken gravy. If you’re on Keto, just replace the gravy with some butter and the rice with cauliflower rice.


perfect duck breast
Perfect Duck Breast
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Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
How to cook the perfect duck breast
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 10 minutes
perfect duck breast
Perfect Duck Breast
Yum
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
How to cook the perfect duck breast
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 duck breast
  • a pinch Salt
  • a pinch Pepper
Servings: serving
Units:
Instructions
  1. The first thing you want to do is score the skin and fat on the duck. Using a very sharp knife, make shallow diagonal cuts on the skin side - you want to be careful to not cut down into the meat.
  2. Sprinkle salt over the duck breast and then massage it onto the skin and into all the cuts you’ve just made. Flip it over and season the meat side with both salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200C (395 F). We’ll be starting the duck breast in the pan but we’ll finish it in the oven.
  4. Meanwhile, place your duck breast skin side down in a cold cast-iron pan. I repeat – skin side down in a cold cast-iron pan. Starting in a cold pan helps the fat render out without burning the skin.
  5. Get the pan on the stove on medium heat. We won’t need to add any oil because the duck will cook in its own fat.
  6. Let the duck cook skin side down for 3 to 4 minutes. You’ll see the fat render out and fry the skin in it.
  7. After 3 to 4 minutes the skin should be golden brown. Flip the breast over and place it meat side down in the pan. Let it cook for exactly 30 to 40 seconds, no more. You literally just want it to kiss the pan.
  8. Take the pan off the heat, drain off the duck fat and reserve it for later use – this is liquid gold and you don’t want to waste a drop. Drain as much of the fat as you can so the pan doesn’t start smoking when it goes into the oven.
  9. Flip the breast back onto the skin side in the pan, and put it into your preheated oven. If you’re using a non-stick, or non-oven-safe pan, take the duck out and place it skin side down on a baking tray that’s been preheating in the oven. Set a 6-minute timer.
  10. After 3 minutes, check the temperature of the meat with your meat thermometer – you’re looking for it to be 58C (137F) when it’s perfectly cooked. If it’s still not up to temp, let it go for the remaining 3 minutes.
  11. After the 6-minute timer goes off, check the temperature again, it should be done. Take the duck breast out on a plate and let it rest for 6-8 minutes. It’s important to let it rest to keep the juices in the meat.
  12. After about 8 minutes, slice up the duck breast and serve with a gravy, on rice, or just as is!

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