Orange Duck with Port

It’s not often that I cook with duck, despite it featuring in a recipe post over the summer (thanks to my mum). But when I saw duck breast at Bones and Blades, I just had to get some. It’s an expensive cut of meat, and so it really was a treat to try out this recipe and the port reduction as well.

I absolutely love cooking with citrus fruits, as I think they bring out an extra element from meat that really plays with your taste buds. I would normally use lemons, but using orange for duck is a time-tested pairing that can do no wrong.

I also wanted to try this recipe because I had almost all of the ingredients already in the house – except for the duck breast, so it felt natural to give it a shot and share it with you if it worked. Lo and behold, it did.

It also allowed me to play with my skillet more. So many meals I make now are utilising my skillet, which makes me happy. I had no idea I would use one piece of kitchen equipment as much as I have been. I also still can’t believe that it took me this long to invest in one (despite the issues of finding one to fit in my oven).

You don’t have to use a skillet though, as you can simply just transfer the duck from one pan to another without issue. Just like I would have done if I didn’t have my skillet.

You will need to prepare the duck the night before, so take that into consideration before you start cooking.


1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh thyme leaves)
zest of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 duck breast
300ml port
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth/stock

  1. Combine the thyme, orange zest, sugar, allspice, pepper and salt in a small bowl to make a rub.
  2. Score the skin of the duck into diamonds (roughly 1 inch wide), then rub the thyme mixture over the skin of the duck. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight.
  3. About 20 minutes before cooking, remove the duck breasts from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  5. Meanwhile, place the port and shallots into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes, until sauce as reduced slightly.
  6. Strain the shallots from the saucepan and add the chicken broth to the port. Cook for a further 15 minutes, to allow the sauce to reduce further and thicken slightly. If sauce does not thicken, add 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch if desired (or keep the sauce more liquid).
  7. While the sauce is reducing, place your skillet over high heat and allow to get hot. When the pan is hot, place the duck, skin-side down, onto the skillet.
  8. Let the duck breast cook for 5 minutes, then place the skillet into the oven. Allow to cook for a further 3 minutes, then turn the duck breast over. Cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Once rested, slice the duck and serve with wild rice and asparagus. Pour the port reduction over the duck. Enjoy.

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