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Duck Breasts with a Citrus Glaze

Cooking duck breasts is easy once you get the hang of it. This recipe works with any duck breast, wild or store-bought. 

Serves 4


50g light brown sugar

4 duck breasts, skin on (breasts from two ducks)

1 orange, finely grated rind & juice

1 large lemon, finely grated rind & juice

1 lime, finely grated rind & juice

1 tsp of duck fat or 1 tbsp of olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

Sugar snap peas & orange wedges, to serve


Score the skin (but not the meat) of the duck breasts with a sharpe knife in a criss-cross pattern, making the criss-cross about 1/2 inch across; this helps the fat render and will give you a crispier skin. Then rub well with salt on both sides, and let it stand on a cutting board for at least 15 minutes.


While the duck is coming up to room temperature, put the sugar in a small saucepan, add just enough water to cover and heat gently until dissolved.

Add the citrus rinds and juices and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until syrupy. Remove from the heat. Taste and add extra sugar if needed. Keep warm.

Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Put one tsp of duck fat or one tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and place the duck breasts skin-down in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. You want as much fat to render out as possible, so start with a cool pan.  

I like my duck so the flesh is just pink. To do this with small ducks like teal, you need only about 3 minutes on the skin side, and you might want to keep the heat higher. Medium-sized ducks like wigeon or wood ducks need 3 to 5 minutes. Larger ducks like mallards and domestic ducks need between 5 and 8 minutes.

Turn the breasts over and lightly salt the skin, this seems to absorb any extra oil and definitely gives you an even yummier, crispier skin. Let the ducks cook on the meat side for less time, roughly a minute or two less than the skin side had.


Take the duck off the heat and let it rest on a cutting board, skin side up. Teal need only need a minute or two rest. Everything else benefits from about a 5 minute rest.

While the duck rests you can boil the sugar snap peas, they only take about 3 minutes to cook.

Slice the duck breasts diagonally into 5-6 slices and transfer to warmed plates.

Arrange the sugar snap peas and oranges wedges on each plate, spoon over the glaze and serve immediately.

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