Crispy Pan Seared Duck Breast with Zinfandel Raspberry Sauce

Crispy Pan Seared Duck Breast with Zinfandel Raspberry Sauce

Servings: 2

Cook time: 40 minutes

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 3 tbsp / unsalted butter, divided - one to sauté and two to swirl at the end
  • 1 medium / clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium / shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp / flour
  • 1 cup / red zinfandel, or other fruity red wine
  • 1 cup / chicken stock, low or no sodium
  • 1/2 cup / ruby port
  • 1 cup / raspberries
  • 1 tsp / honey
  • 1/4 tsp / ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
  • Duck Breast
  • 2.8 oz / Pekin duck breasts, thawed if frozen
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper


  1. Take one tablespoon of the butter and melt it over medium heat in a saucepan or saucier. Once it bubbles up, add the garlic and shallot and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. While whisking, pour in the Zinfandel wine, chicken stock, and ruby port. Bring the sauce to a simmer while whisking frequently. Then add in the raspberries and honey.
  3. Increase the heat to bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Give the sauce a stir as needed and reduce the sauce to 1 1/2 cups. This will take about 15-17 minutes. The sauce will be thick with the consistency of heavy cream and coat a spoon. Taste the sauce and add chipotle pepper to taste.
  4. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the sauce into the strainer. Discard the solids. (At this point the sauce can be put into a sealed container and held in the refrigerator for up to one day.)
  5. (Do this step AFTER you sear the duck!) Once the duck is done and resting, finish the sauce. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/2 inch cubes and let it come to room temperature. Then pour the sauce into a clean saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Then remove the pan from the hot burner and begin swirling in the butter, one or two pieces at time.
  6. Duck Breast
  7. Take the duck breast out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to cook it. Score the skin by cutting it into a diamond pattern with cuts about ever half inch, being careful to cut just the skin and not the meat.
  8. Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium high heat until it's hot enough that water skitters across the surface. Add the duck, skin side down, and reduce the heat to low. Sear the duck for 5-6 minutes on the skin side, checking to make sure the skin is browning but not burning. Once the skin is a deep, golden brown, turn the duck and cook until you reach medium rare, 125F-130F. This will take about 3 minutes longer.
    Woody's Way: • If you have large magret duck breasts (which are about 12 oz each), use my pan roasting method. This will allow the duck to cook through without becoming overly browned. Also, I find that one magret duck breast is sufficient for two people.
  9. Transfer the duck breasts to a plate and let them rest about 5 minutes. Then slice them and arrange them on plates. Serve with the raspberry sauce.
    Woody's Way: • Cream cheese mashed potatoes makes a great side for the duck. You can even make them ahead and then warm them through in a covered casserole dish while you are preparing dinner. Add a little more cream to the potatoes, then 350F for 30 minutes.