pan-seared duck breasts with clementines {ffwd}


Before I started cooking with French Fridays with Dorie, eating duck was reserved for restaurant dining. If duck was on the menu, it was often my first choice of what to order. Admittedly, it’s the sides that are usually served with duck that help suck me in: lentils, roasted root vegetables, pan-fried potatoes… One of my favorite takeaways from this cooking group is learning to sear duck breasts in my own kitchen. I have the added good fortune that the grocery store closest to my house usually has a few duck breasts and legs in the meat case, though I’ve taken to keeping a few duck breasts in the freezer for impulse cooking.

The third and final duck breast recipe in Around My French Table is Duck Breasts with Kumquats, which is a sort of deconstructed,simpler version of duck à l’orange. All of the recipes are based on the same technique of searing the duck breast and letting it finish cooking while it rests in a warm oven, each with a different sauce. The sauce this week was a citrusy red wine reduction sauce. From past experience, I knew that using a saucepan to reduce lots of liquid takes way too long, so I used a wide low sauté pan, which worked really well. In the end, the sauce was satisfactory, but not that memorable. Actually, I didn’t enjoy the sauce from any of these recipes (the others were honey glazed and with peaches). I think I prefer the duck plain, but bring on those sides! (I have lots of leftover sauce. Any ideas on how it might be used?)


On the other hand, the garnish, candied citrus, was outstanding. It’s a little too early here for the called-for kumquats, but I found some tiny clementines to stand in. The sliced fruit simmer in a dilute simple syrup until they are tender, which happens in about 10 minutes. The house smelled great! And the candied slices tasted wonderful, even just tasting them on their own straight from the pot. I’m excited to add the syrup to a glass of seltzer for a refreshing beverage. Or even to spoon the fruit and syrup over vanilla ice cream.

Jar of Candied Clementines

I wasn’t organized enough for any restaurant-worthy sides, just some Israeli couscous, but it was still good. For anyone who wonders, Howard did eat it without the sliced fruit.

Duck with Israeli Couscous

This morning was our first snow! It was a light dusting of wet snow, and it melted by noontime. No big nuisance, just a little reminder of what’s coming soon.


Today is also “Bella Day”, the 5th anniversary of our adoption of our furry monster. I still remember Howard and I walking her around the parking lot at the shelter in the pouring rain, a test drive of sorts. It was only six months after we’d lost our first dog Lily. When I asked whether he thought she was the one, he responded, “What would she have to do for us NOT to take her home?”. So we became family. She’s been a joy, full of personality, a mix of sweetness and stubbornness. From her chow heritage, she’s not especially cuddly, though she likes to hang out close by her people. We also count Bella Day as her birthday, so Happy 10th Birthday, Bella!


A similar version of this recipe can be found here on Epicurious. It’s also in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see how the Doristas quacked with their ducks, check their links here.


Posted on 14 November 2014, in Bella, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. The candied fruit looks delicious. I’m definitely going to try that when kumquats make it to our supermarkets.

    Happy doggieversary! Bella looks like a sweet girl indeed. So fluffy! :-)

  2. Bella totally looks ready for the snow with her gorgeous coat! I may have to make the candied citrus just to try it! BTW, I ordered the mixers you mentioned when we had lunch & John loves them! So glad you found a way to make a favorite dish at home. Have a lovely weekend!

  3. Happy Bella day, Betsy! She is a beauty! The three of you are lucky to have found each other!
    I love duck and found all of Dories recipes to be luscious! I think my favorite duck recipe was with the peaches! That said, I loved the citrus flavor in this one! Your candied oranges look mouthwatering! Glad you and Howard both enjoyed this meal…restaurant worthy indeed!

    I will be heading to Fl. for Thanksgiving, and hopefully bringing back some kumquats!

  4. And, Happy Bella Birthday, dear Chow. When Michael and I lived in Henderson, two of our best friends owned a pair of Chows who had been show dogs. They were gorgeous-looking animals but I was a bit afraid of them. Not for long. During the 10 years that I was running in and out of Ray and Dom’s house, those Chows were great friends to me. Your picture of Bella made me miss them. Now, on to duck. Your story is my story – Dorie has introduced me to duck, the easy way, and instead of it being a restaurant food order, I now make it at home. The duck with peaches is my favorite but have not made the honey-glazed. So glad you both liked it.

  5. thekitchenlioness

    Dear Betsy, what a wonderful post – your duck breasts with clementines look just wonderful – I love it when all of you talented Doristas out there are able to make successful substitutions in the recipes. The side of Israeli couscous sounds fabulous – I think there are many possibilities for side dishes to this recipe.
    Snow, the first snow – true, it is a reminder of what´s coming soon and the picture of your dog is wonderful too – no dog at our house but two cages full of bunnies.

    Wishing you and Howard a wonderful weekend!
    Stay warm!

  6. Aw, happy birthday Bella – she’s a cutie :) I need to try this duck with clementines next. Sounds amazing!

  7. What a cutie. Happy Bella Day! She looks very ready for the snow.

  8. That jar of fruit slices looks so inviting and are so tasty with the meat. We loved
    this recipe as well as the other duck recipes we made from this book. I never ate it
    before cooking with Dorie. Your Bella is beautiful.

  9. I was wondering how the clementines worked for you! I have candied clementines several times and sometimes they are great and sometimes the peels tough. Happy Bella day! She looks lovely and its amazing how much dogs enrich our lives, isn’t it? Snow? Here in Oklahoma we are expecting some tomorrow. Weird, huh?

  10. It’s nice to know this works with something other than kumquats. Your leftover fruit and syrup looks wonderful!

  11. I love your Bella story and recognized her chow-chow traits right away. I owned a chow-chow for 14 years but sadly he passed on this year. He was a very loyal dog. But on to duck. Loved this one and the sauce too. We did the orange thing too. I say if you don’t like the sauce toss it. It won’t get better in something else.

  12. I enjoyed this one too. I had forgotten about the other duck recipes we made. I do like duck! Bella is just gorgeous – I can see why Howard loved her on sight.

  13. “I’ve taken to keeping a few duck breasts in the freezer for impulse cooking” :-) This group has had that affect on me too – I keep all sorts of odd things around that I would never have thought to keep on hand before.
    Awww – Bella :-)

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