14 Favorite Duck Recipes for Special Dinners
At the first hint of autumn, we're all in for duck season. We're not exactly loading up the shotguns and hitting the blinds, mind you. More like, pushing the shopping cart to the butcher isle. We love a simple roasted duck -- the bird practically bastes itself. Roast duck is a great alternative to turkey at the holidays, particularly for smaller crowds. And we can't get enough rich, flavorful duck meat in confit, gumbos, adobo, and more. Here are some of our very favorite top-rated duck recipes.
Roast Duck with Chestnut Stuffing
You'll marinate a duck in white wine and herbs, stuff it with an apple-chestnut stuffing, and roast to a gorgeous mahogany. "Duck is one of the traditional meals for Christmas or other special occasions in Germany," says barbara. "I often make it in the fall or winter when I have guests over. The duck needs to marinate for at least 12 hours before roasting. We serve broccoli and duchess potatoes with it."
Chef John's Duck, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo
Here's a rich and flavorful gumbo with braised duck legs, smoky andouille sausage, ham hock, aromatic vegetables, okra, and shrimp. "This can be made with hundreds of different combinations of smoked meats, game, poultry, and seafood, and in my opinion, the more the merrier," says Chef John. "The procedure is pretty straightforward, although you're talking about a full day's project. Serve in a large soup plate with a scoop of cooked white rice, a sprinkle of green onion, and a pinch of cayenne."
Autumn Duck Confit Salad
Curly endive, radicchio, and arugula combine with purple grapes, minced apple, sliced turnips. and chopped pecans. Dress it all up in a simple vinaigrette and top with rich duck confit. "The flavors here really work well together!" says Kim. "It's customizable to your own tastes, too. I also really like the vinaigrette and would use that in more salads!"
Fesenjan is a savory stew starring duck, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts. "It's every bit as wild as it sounds," says Chef John. "This is my interpretation of the ancient classic. I'm assuming like most similar recipes, every household has their own version, and this kind of thing can easily be tailored to your tastes."
Duck Breast with Three Red Fruits
"A simply seasoned pan-fried duck breast is served with a ruby red sauce made with red plums, strawberries, and raspberries," says Phil. "Roasted potatoes sprinkled with fresh rosemary make a great side dish."
Chef John's Cassoulet
Another classic, this French white bean and sausage dish also features duck confit, pork shoulder, pancetta, and a crispy bread-crumb crust. "Cassoulet is one of the most delicious dishes you'll ever have," says Chef John. "Plus, it's great for honing your observational skills, since no two cassoulet are the same, and the times I give are only a guide."
Here's a simple roast duck recipe with a rub of salt, pepper, and paprika -- and no sweet sauce, all savory. "I made this last year out of the blue, and my whole family enjoyed it. We had never had duck before, and it was a nice exchange for the traditional turkey," says Rhonda Brock Fuller. "We served it with all the usual side dishes."
Here's a twist on the classic Filipino adobo dish. "This recipe uses duck legs, which makes a particularly rich and satisfying adobo," says Chef John. Brown the duck before sautéing onions and garlic with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and crushed chilies! This technique works equally well with any stewing or braising meat -- duck legs, chicken thighs, pork chops.
Duck and Yellow Rice
"This impressive dinner-party dish from Laos will wow your guests," says Joseph and Joyanna. "They won't believe how easy it is! Serve a green salad on the side for a unique and flavorful family meal instead. Chicken substitutes well for the duck."
Chef John's Orange Duck
Another classic dish that's also remarkably easy to make. The sweet and savory sauce is lip smacking, combining marmalade, orange zest, and Grand Marnier with sherry vinegar and chicken broth. "This is traditionally done with a whole roasted duck, but by using breasts we get pretty much the same results in a lot less time," says Chef John.
"This is actually a short-cut version but it is fantastic," says Allison. "It can be served with plum sauce as well as a fruit sauce."
Duck with Honey, Soy, and Ginger
Duck breasts are pan-seared and finished in the oven, and served with a luscious honey, soy, and ginger sauce. "These duck breasts are the nicest I've ever cooked," says Ollie Martin. "You'll find yourself putting your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. And it's also very quick and extremely easy to make. I enjoy serving these duck breasts with roasted seasonal vegetables.
Sous Vide Duck Breast
No spendy machine is necessary to make these "sous vide" duck breasts. The only thing you need is an accurate cooking thermometer and a large heavy pot. "A simple, almost foolproof, stovetop sous vide method that requires no special equipment? Too good to be true? Well, I'm happy to report it's so very true, and produced what my wife and I agreed was the best duck breast we've ever had," says Chef John.
Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Blueberry Sauce
"Pan-seared duck breast with blueberry sauce atop a bed of bok choy, wild mushrooms, pancetta, and shallots," says rmdalrymple. "Served with a side of roasted potatoes seasoned with rosemary and thyme."