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Pan Seared Duck with Blackberry Sage Sauce

By Chef John Ash

Delight guests with something different this holiday! The blackberry sage sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated and reheated. Serve with an earthy combination of pan-roasted mushrooms and sautéed greens. Note the cooking method starts with a cold pan. Gradually heating draws out more of the fat and crisps the skin of the duck.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level Medium


    2 whole Boneless duck breast, trimmed of fat

    Salt and finely ground black pepper

    Olive or other vegetable oil for seasoning

    Blackberry Sage Sauce (follows)

    2 tbs Olive oil

    1/2 C Chopped shallots or scallions

    1 C Chopped mushrooms

    2 C Hearty red wine ie: Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir

    5 C Rich chicken or duck stock

    3 C Blackberries

    1/4 C Finely chopped fresh sage

    1/2 C Sweet Port (to taste)

    1 tbs honey (to taste)

    Salt and finely ground black pepper


    1. Separate the breasts into 4 supremes and score the skin side of the duck breasts in a diamond pattern with the point of a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut into the meat, just the skin and fat.

    2. Place breasts skin side down in a cold heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Sear until nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered. Turn breasts over, reduce heat and continue to cook until rare to medium rare, about 4 minutes. Off heat and allow breast to rest of 3 or 4 minutes before slicing.

    3. Slice each breast into an attractive fan and arrange on warm plates. Spoon sauce around and serve immediately.

    4. Blackberry Sage Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté the shallots and mushrooms over high heat until golden brown. Add the wine, stock and blackberries and reduce over high heat by half (approximately 15 minutes).

    5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down on the solids. Return sauce to pan and add sage and port and continue to reduce until lightly thickened. Season to taste with honey, salt and pepper.

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