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Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Balsamic Blackberry Sauce

Treat yourself with this crispy skinned pan-seared duck breast recipe served with a sugar-free balsamic blackberry sauce. It’s perfect for a fancy–but simple to prepare–Keto, Paleo, or Whole30 meal.

Image of sliced pan-seared duck breast with balsamic blackberry sauce on a black plate with greens and fresh blackberries.

There is something about duck that seems reserved for fancy restaurant occasions.

In my mind, I guess it was because I always thought it took some serious know-how to cook it properly. Poorly prepared duck can be greasy, chewy, and all-around not pleasurable to the palate.

As it turns out, making perfectly cooked duck breast at home it a lot easier than one may think.

The key is just controlling the heat and letting the skillet do all the work.

By starting off with a low cooking temperature, all the fat has a chance to render off and the skin can crisp up without overcooking the meat.

The process is honestly so simple, I just might never order duck at a restaurant again.

(Just kidding, I will still always order the duck).

Ingredients for Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Balsamic Blackberry Sauce

Over head image of fresh duck breast, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, blackberries, ginger, shallot, and mint on a wooden table.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 boneless, skin-on duck breasts halves
  • fresh blackberries
  • low sodium chicken stock or bone broth
  • shallot
  • ginger
  • fresh mint
  • avocado oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

How to Pan-Sear Duck Breasts

Start by patting the duck breasts dry, then use a serrated knife to score the skin in a crosshatched pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat.

Season the duck liberally with sea salt and black pepper.

Close up of scored raw duck breast on a white cutting board with a serrated knife in the foreground.

Heat a teaspoon of avocado oil in a heavy skillet over low heat, then add the duck skin-side down.

Overhead shot of duck breast in a pan, skin side down.

Now it’s time to let the magic happen. Let the duck cook for about 15-20 minutes until the fat has rendered down and the skin starts to brown.

Close up of duck breast browning in a pan.

Raise the heat to high and cook for another couple minutes until the skin is completely brown and crispy, then flip the breasts over.

Shot of crispy skin on duck breasts in a pan.

Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes until the breasts are cooked through to your liking.

The time will vary based on the thickness of the duck breast, but I like to aim for an internal temperature around 130°-135°F for medium rare.

Close up of a digital thermometer reading 133°F

Transfer the duck breasts to a plate and loosely tent with some foil to keep warm.

How to Make Balsamic Blackberry Sauce

After cooking the duck, pour off the residual fat from the skillet, reserving about 2 tablespoons worth in the pan.

Pro Tip: Save that excess fat! It’s flavor is unparalleled when used for cooking, especially roasting vegetables.

Set the pan on medium high heat and add the minced shallot and ginger and saute for about a minute until fragrant.

Overhead shot of sautéing minced shallots and ginger in a pan with a colorful wooden spoon.

Add the blackberries, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, and chopped mint to the pan.

As the blackberries begin to soften, start smashing them down with a spoon.

Image of fresh blackberries cooking in a pan with a colorful wooden spoon.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes until it has thickened and reduced by about half.

Image of Balsamic Blackberry Sauce thickened in a pan.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, pushing down with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with some sea salt to taste.

Image of straining Balsamic Blackberry Sauce through a metal strainer using a colorful wooden spoon.

Thinly slice the duck breast, spoon the blackberry sauce on top, serve and enjoy!

Overhead image of sliced Pan-seared Duck Breast with Balsamic Blackberry Sauce on a black plate with greens and fresh blackberries.

More Fancy-Pants Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Balsamic Blackberry Sauce

Treat yourself with this crispy pan-seared duck breast recipe served with a sugar-free balsamic blackberry sauce. It's perfect for a fancy–but simple to prepare–Keto, Paleo, or Whole30 meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Keto, Paleo, Whole30
Keyword duck
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skin-on duck breast halves about 6-ounces each
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil or other high heat cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Pat the duck breast dry. Score the skin in a crosshatched pattern with a serrated knife, being careful not to cut into the meat. Season both sides of the breasts liberally with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat the avocado oil in a heavy skillet over low heat, then add the duck breast, skin-side down. Cook until the fat has rendered and the skin has browned, about 20 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to high and cook until the skin is completely brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the breasts over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 130°F. Transfer the duck to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Pour off the fat from the skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons in the pan. Set the heat on medium-high and add the shallot and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the blackberries, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, and mint to the pan. Smash the blackberries with a spoon as they soften. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until it has thickened and reduced by about half.
  • Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer, then season with sea salt to taste. Slice the duck breast and spoon the sauce over it before serving.
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