Duck Breasts with Gewürztraminer and Honey

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  26 minutes

Duck Breasts with Gewürztraminer and Honey

The zesty flavor and gentle sweetness of Gewürztraminer complements the earthy honey and rich duck meat in this dish. Although this sounds and tastes like a meal for a special occasion, it’s easy enough to make whenever you have fresh duck.


4  (6-ounce) duck breasts, magret preferred

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 large shallots, diced (about ¼ cup)

6 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

⅓ cup Gewürztraminer wine

½ cup chicken stock

⅓ cup mild-flavored honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the duck breast, skin-side down, on a work surface. With a sharp knife, remove any visible fat, gristle, or silver skin. Turn the duck, skin-side up. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the skin and fat, making incisions ¼-inch apart, without piercing the  meat. Then score the skin and fat again, in the opposite direction, to create a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle the duck on both sides with the salt and a generous pinch of pepper.
  2. Heat the canola oil in an ovenproof 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat until it is hot but not smoking. Carefully place the duck duck breasts into it in a single layer, skin-side down, working in batches if necessary. Cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, until the skin is crisp and has browned. Remove from the heat. Drain any fat that has built up in the pan into a heatproof glass container (it will melt plastic). Set aside.
  3. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the duck for 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, or 10 to 13 minutes for well done.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven, and place it on the stovetop. Transfer the duck to a cutting board. Allow it to rest while you make the sauce.
  4. Carefully pour the hot rendered fat from the skillet into the glass container with the other duck fat, leaving 1 teaspoon in the skillet. (Reserve the fat in the glass container for another use; see Kitchen Tip). Set the skillet over medium heat, add the shallots, and cook stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the wine. Stir vigorously to remove any browned bits from the bottom, and then carefully stir in the stock and honey. Return to the heat and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sauce has reduced in volume by one-third and begins to thicken.
  5. To serve, thinly slice the duck on the diagonal.  Divide it between 4 serving plates. Spoon sauce decoratively over the duck.

Kitchen Tips

Duck fat is a highly prized commodity among savvy cooks, so if you prepare duck and wind up with an excess of fat, treat it carefully. What to do with it once you have it? Strain it through cheesecloth into a container, seal tightly, and it will keep in the fridge for 3  months. Try roasting potatoes with it, or sautéing vegetables in it or using it as the fat in a rice or grain pilaf…or cooking duck. It gives just about any food a wonderful, rich flavor.

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