These Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce utilize the best summertime fruit and make a luscious and sublime meal for special occasions or dinner parties. Rich with two kinds of wine, broth, and herbs, this is one of my personal favorite meals to make.
With summer in full swing, it’s a great time to use the abundant bounty in everyday meals. Every year when I see the stone fruits arriving at the Farmer’s market, I keep a close eye on the plums and when they are perfect, this is the first dish that I make. As soon as The Artist saw me pick up the plums, he started smiling, asking if there might be a duck dinner in our future, LOL. After over 20 years together I guess he’s figured me out.
I have been making versions of this recipe for many years. Sometimes I make it with chicken or pork, but when possible, duck is my favorite. It is full-bodied enough to really stand up to the sauce, creating beautiful balance, bite after bite.
Today’s sauce is outstanding and really makes this dish. In fact, the next time I make this, I think I am going to double the sauce ingredients and have it on hand for basting when I am cooking on the grill. That would be amazing!
Duck doesn’t have to be saved for special meals anymore. Because of its richness, a little goes a long way, making it much more affordable than it first appears. The Artist and I generally share a single breast between us, leaving us with much appreciated leftovers the next day. Plus, the rendered fat is liquid gold. You haven’t had French fries until you’ve had duck fat fries! Just sayin’ …
Have you discovered the beauty of pan sauces? Using the flavors that are developed when you brown meats and poultry, you sauté some aromatics, deglaze the pan with a little wine or stock, add some herbs, and voila, you have an instant sauce! If you are looking for an easy and quick way to elevate ordinary poultry or pork dishes to something special, use a fruit-based pan sauce. When seasonings are added along with a little wine, your ordinary meal becomes truly elegant. Today’s sauce is outstanding and really makes this dish.
For today’s sauce, the plums I used were more sour than I anticipated. I took a taste and immediately added another tablespoon of sugar. You can also use agave syrup or honey if you prefer. Be sure to check everything before serving!
For your next dinner party, you could wrap plum halves with prosciutto or make Susan’s beautiful Plum, Avocado, and Mozzarella Salad, make this Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce for your entree, perhaps an order of Duck Fat Fries alongside (thanks for the inspiration Jenni Field!) then finish your meal with my Grilled Plum and Port Parfaits and have a plum-palooza dinner! 😉
If you are a beginning cook, a bachelor who is looking for the perfect meal to make for your gal, want to make a meal for someone special, or want to impress your new in-laws, give this recipe a try. Always do a practice run before the big event. You want to be comfortable with the techniques and ingredients and have a chance to make it for the first time when there is no pressure. You will be more comfortable when you are making it for others.
I hope you have a wonderful week and make sure you hit the farmer’s market or grocery store soon and buy a bunch of stone fruits. You’re going to want to make every single one of this month’s recipes!
Did you enjoy this recipe for Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. This month’s theme is a celebration of stone fruits hosted by Ansh of Spice Roots. The ladies have once again outdone themselves – these recipes are remarkable! Each one features their favorite stone fruit – from BBQ sauce, to curries, to duck and of course desserts. I promise you will want to make them all immediately! Make sure you check out the links at the bottom of the page.
Key Ingredients for Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce:
- Duck breasts, rosemary, sweet onions, fresh plums, sugar
- White wine, plum wine, butter, rice, green onions
If you are making this for the first time when entertaining, always do a practice run before the big event. You want to be comfortable with the techniques and ingredients and have a chance to make it for the first time when there is no pressure. You will be more comfortable when you are making it for others.
For those of you who are new to using wine in your cooking, make sure that the wine you use is one that you enjoy drinking. Never buy anything labeled “cooking wine” because it is unpleasant and nothing I would like to taste in a beautiful sauce. I often use the same wine I will be serving with the meal to carry the flavors through the entire evening. My motto is undrinkable wine makes an unpleasant meal!
It may seem silly that I would give directions for cutting plums, but sometimes the pits are difficult to remove. Cut a plum in half, running your knife around the pit and twist the halves apart. If the pit pops out easily, then you’ve got a beautifully ripe batch. But if you run into any that are stubborn, simply cut the meat away from the pit. It won’t be as pretty, but the plums pretty much disintegrate in the sauce so neatness doesn’t count as much in this dish.
How to make Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce:
- Score the skin and fat on each duck breast and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary; start the duck skin-side down in a cold skillet cooking until the skin is crispy and golden brown
- Flip and cook the second side and scatter onions around the edges of the pan, cook duck to an internal temperature of about 120°F then transfer to a cutting board to rest while you finish cooking the onions and make the sauce; scoop the onions out of the pan and set aside
- In the same skillet, sprinkle sugar over the bottom and stir 1 minute, then add the wines and rosemary stirring until smooth; bring to a boil and cook until reduced about half and slightly thickened, stirring often
- Reduce heat to medium and add the plums, cooking another 5 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon; taste and adjust seasonings
- Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter just before serving; slice duck and serve with the rice, onions, and vegetables of your choice, passing sauce at the table
When recipes tell you to “adjust the seasonings” toward the end, what does that mean? We often give you variable measurements for herbs and seasonings, especially salt and pepper. The reason is that these can be limited by doctor’s orders, some people like less than others, or an individual may be sensitive to a specific flavor. Always sample a little of the sauce to be sure you like seasonings, that everything is in balance, and you make any needed adjustments.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
Wine is considered gluten-free; this recipe is gluten-free!
- 2 large boneless duck breasts (or you can use boneless chicken breasts)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
- 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 to 10 fresh, ripe plums, washed, pitted and quartered *
- 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 1 cup plum wine (Japanese wine)
- 1 tsp very finely minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1 tbsp butter
- Cooked saffron or plain rice
- Sliced green onions, for garnishing
- Sprig of fresh rosemary, for garnishing
- Prepare the Duck: Using a sharp knife, score the skin and fat on the top of each breast, without cutting into the meat, creating a diamond pattern with 1/4-inch squares. Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. Rub the seasoning into the slits on the skin.
- Start the duck skin-side down in a cold skillet. Turn the burner on to medium-high heat. Cook until the skin is crispy and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Use a splatter guard to help contain the splattering of the duck fat. Use tongs to flip the breasts over. Scatter the onions around the edges of the pan and stir the onions regularly. Cook the second side of the duck to about 120°F, for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board, tent loosely, and let rest for 5 minutes. The internal temperature of the duck will rise to around 125°F, a perfect medium-rare.
- Continue cooking onions over medium heat while the duck is resting, until softened and lightly caramelized, stirring often.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to the same cutting board as the duck. Remove all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan and reserve for another use.
- Make the Pan Sauce: Using the same skillet, sprinkle the sugar into the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add both wines and rosemary, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced about half and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the plum pieces and cook, stirring regularly, about 5 more minutes or until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and sugar if needed.
- Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter just before serving to smooth out the sauce, making it even more delectable. If you are making the sauce ahead, cool it before adding the butter and refrigerate. Rewarm it over medium-low heat before whisking in the butter .
- For Serving: Slice the duck with a very sharp knife. Scoop a serving of cooked rice on each plate and add some of the cooked onions alongside and any vegetables you are serving. Fan out the duck slices on the plates, leaning them slightly against the rice. Drizzle sauce over the slices. Sprinkle the rice with the green onions and tuck a sprig of rosemary between the rice and duck slices. Serve immediately, passing additional sauce at the table.
- * Use more plums if they are small, and fewer if they are large. Or if plums are not in season, use 1/2 cup plum jam in place of the plums and sugar.
- Recipe Source: The Heritage Cook
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 614Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 214mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 4gSugar: 38gProtein: 33g
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This recipe is part of our monthly progressive dinner party, Progressive Eats. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
- Grilled Peaches, Basil and Honey Appetizer from Miss in the Kitchen
- Black Plum, Avocado, and Mozzarella Salad from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Peach Barbecue Sauce from Stetted
- Lamb and Fresh Plum Tagine from Spiceroots
- Duck Breasts with Fresh Plum Sauce (GF) from The Heritage Cook (you are here)
- Hot Curried Georgia Peaches from Never Enough Thyme
- Peach-Bourbon Upside Down Cake from Creative Culinary
- Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce (Dessert Panzanella) from Pastry Chef Online
- Peach Raspberry Galette from That Skinny Chic Can Bake
- Yogurt Plum Coffee Cake from girlichef
- Gluten-Free Apricot Almond Frangipane Tart from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Stone Fruit Cobbler from Food Hunter’s Guide
Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me. I can also be found at the social media site links on the right. Thanks for joining the Heritage Cook Family!
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