Thursday, September 2, 2010

Little Black Duck with Orange Pomegranate Sauce

After discovering the Joys of Duck recently, I now can't get enough of it. Duck has always seemed like a rich, gouty, old-fashioned meat to cook, but it really depends on how you treat it.  At home, simpler is easier, and, for me at least, a quick pan-fry on the stovetop is preferable to a slow bake-baste-carve from the oven.

I found this recipe on the Essential Ingredient website, and the sauce of orange and pomegranate molasses collaborates beautifully with the duck.  And as always when cooking with the fatty skin, you end up with lots of duck fat to use another time for roasted potatoes.

Duck Breast with Pomegranate Sauce
Serves 4

4 x 200g duck breast fillets, skin on
1 tablespoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pomegranate Sauce
1 cup (250ml) freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
1/3 cup soft brown sugar (or less to taste)
1 tablespoon honey
3 whole star anise
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

1. To make the sauce, combine the orange juice, sugar, honey and star anise in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the pomegranate molasses. Strain into a jug and keep warm (or reheat in microwave if making ahead).
2. Meanwhile, cut deep slashes in the duck skin. Combine salt, ground coriander, five spice and pepper and rub into the skin.
3. Barbecue or pan-fry the duck breasts, skin side down, over medium heat, for about 6 – 8 minutes or until skin is well browned. (If you start with a cold pan more of the fat renders down, resulting in a much crisper skin.) Turn duck breasts and cook, flesh side down for 1-2 minutes for medium-rare or longer if you prefer. Transfer to a warmed plate and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Drain off the duck fat to use in other recipes.
4. Cut the duck into thin slices and serve drizzled with the pomegranate sauce and some green vegetables on the side.

Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients for the sauce and rub - you can also use blood orange, and it gives a wonderful ruby-red colour to the sauce.

After rubbing the five-spice powder, salt and black pepper on the duck skin, pan-fry the duck to crisp up the skin.  There was a lot of fat on these duck breasts, and I maybe could have rendered a bit more fat off them...

The duck is served with steamed broccolini and shiitake mushrooms.
Result: This little black duck is very happy.


  1. Can you believe I've never cooked duck before? It's crazy, I know. I do love it's rich fatty flavor though and with this fantastic pomegranate sauce...delicious.

  2. Mmmm mmm! Looks like you're getting into your pomegranate freebie, unless of course that's a newbie? I think I need you to come over and cook for me. So much more exciting than the stuff I've been doing lately.

  3. Belle, you do love your duck!! I find that pomegranate goes very well with game meat. I once made roasted quails with pom juice and it was delicious. I must it with duck soon.

  4. What a great flavour combination for the sauce and you cooked the duck to perfection Belle - Yum!!

  5. That looks absolutely delicious!! I love to eat duck but always been too scared to cook with it... looks like I'll have to give this one a go though!

  6. You have certainly become the duck expert!

  7. Bel this dish looks fantastic and such a simple presentation... I love the idea of pomegranate and orange - only ever had it with orange before... Did you get your ducks from TJs?

  8. hi Everyone - thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love to read them :D

    hi john@heneedsfood - well spotted! Yes, the pom molasses is from Efendy. And it's almost gone, so time to find some more. PS: I can cook for you anytime as long as you can photograph the food.

    hi Trissa - the duck this time is from DJs, not TJs!

  9. Your duck breast has the perfect color and looks delicious. I always have a very hard time finding it fresh anywhere in our markets.

  10. Oh yes! I have never paired pomegranate molasses with duck but this sauce just sounds perfect. I was eyeing off blood oranges the other day too. Hooray, thanks for the recipe!

  11. Genius, Bel! Duck and lamb are so nice with fruit like accompaniments. I can't think of many things that would be more wonderful with duck than a rich pomegranate sauce.
    p.s. I can also see that your fatty part is seared perfectly in that middle photo. That's so delicious looking, Bel!

  12. Such luscious looking duck! Loving the layer of fat and that glistening crispy skin. Collecting duck fat for potatoes is always a bonus - duck. It's the meal that keeps on giving!

  13. I've made five spice chicken & beef and they were both delicious, so I can imagine it would go so well with duck! I'll have to try your sauce next time!

  14. Wow, this duck with pomegranate looks beautiful...and I am sure that must taste very good :-)

  15. The duck breast looks perfectly pinkish and luscious! Pairing it with pomegranate sauce sounds good too - the right tartness to lift the richness of the duck. Mm..Yum!

  16. I'm glad you liked my recipe from my book Just Add Spice which I co-authored with Ian "Herbie" Hemphill. Duck is one of my favourite things to cook - and the addition of the spice makes it quite different. In fact spices can cleverly transform the simplest of ingredients, which is what we have tried to show in our book. I'm actually cooking this recipe next week for a dinner party!

  17. That duck looks lovely and having recently eaten some fabulous duck with pomegranate sauce I'm keen to try that combo again. I really like using the breast as it's easy - I haven't tried cooking a whole duck yet.

  18. i love the mix of duck and fruits !! congrats !!pierre

  19. Ohhh pomegranate molasses - where did you get that?! I've been searching for it for weeks...

  20. hi Lyndey Milan - Herbie's Spices is where I picked up the star anise for your great duck recipe. I will keep an eye out for you book, too, it sounds ideal for my new duck fetish!

    hi Ladybird - pomegranate molasses is available from some supermarkets, or from David Jones and Essential Ingredient. Or you could try a Middle Eastern grocery store (heaps around Auburn if you're in the area).

  21. I love a duck dish but never seem to have been able to buy some to cook at home, mum only ever buys whole ducks if not bbq roast duck. Must find somewhere to buy some nice duck breasts.

  22. I've never tried to make duck, but this recipe makes me want to! Sounds delicious!