Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Spiced Candied Kumquat Sauce

By: Marge Perry & David Bonom

  • Yield:

    4 Servings

  • Course:




Candied kumquats:

  • 18 kumquats, sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  • 1 3/4 cup dry Riesling wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 (12-14 ounce) skin-on magret duck breasts halves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided



  1. For the kumquats combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook 1 minute. Stir in the kumquats, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, 20-22 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve reserving 3/4 cup of the syrup.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the wine, shallots, garlic, star anise pods, cinnamon stick and black peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in the orange juice and return to a boil, reduce liquid to 1 1/4 cups about 5-6 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, return to a boil and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 12-14 minutes; strain through a sieve and discard the solids.
  4. With a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts diagonally to create a1/2-inch-wide diamond pattern. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Season the duck with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the duck to the skillet, skin side down, and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer the duck to a baking sheet. Set duck in the oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 125°F for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and let rest, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes.
  5. While the duck is in the oven, pour off all but 1 tablespoon duck fat from the skillet. Heat the pan over medium and add the sauce mixture and reserved kumquat syrup; bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the kumquats and butter until melted; season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Cut the duck crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve topped with the kumquat sauce.