Sherry Marinated Duck Breast


Here’s a recipe for duck inspired by Duck is one of my favorite meats and is incredibly versatile which makes it a fun food to cook with. This recipe produces a rich and flavorful dish and while it does involve a bit of planning ahead, actually requires minimal hands on time. You can marinate the duck first thing in the morning or even the night before you plan on cooking it then simply let it sit. The duck then sits in an herb infused bath of sherry. Be sure to use a good tasting sherry since the flavor is noticeable even after the alcohol cooks off.

Depending upon how much fat your duck has, you may end up with quite a bit of herb infused rendered duck fat. You can either use it as the base to saute some Brussels sprouts (as I did here) or you can save it for another dish…..perhaps some duck fat roasted potatoes. Add a starch, wild rice complements the dish nicely, and you have the perfect autumn dinner.


2 duck breasts, skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup dry sherry

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons basil

Salt & pepper

  • Using a sharp knife, score the fatty side of the duck breast into a grid pattern, cutting all of the way through the fat but not into the meat.
  • Combine the olive oil, sherry, brown sugar, oregano, rosemary and basil in a large sealable, non-reactive container. (A large plastic Ziploc tub works well).
  • Add the duck, fatty side down, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove the duck from the marinade and pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Set aside.
  • Pat the duck completely dry, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place fat side down, on a cold cast iron skillet.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and allow the fat to render from the meat for about 5 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking for an additional to 4 minutes. The hash marks on the duck should have contracted into a crispy brown diamond pattern.
  • Drain the fat from the pan and reserve for another use.
  • Flip the duck breasts over and pace the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes for medium-rare meat (130 degrees on a digital thermometer) or to your desired level of doneness.
  • Remove the duck to a cutting board and allow to rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • While the duck is resting, bring the reserved marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the volume is reduced by half.
  • Serve topped with the marinade.

Serves 4


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