Duck Breast with Figs

My daughter loves roasted duck breast. She gave me a wonderful cookbook, Stéphane Raynaud’s 365 good reasons to sit down and eat, which has a great duck recipe in it.

I made this dish four times in a week and a half. I'd say it turned out well three of those times. The first three times I made this dish I was at my sister's house.  My sister has a meat thermometer, but I didn't, so the fourth batch was slightly over cooked. I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer, it made all the difference.

The funniest part of me making duck not only once but four times, is that my mother, Gran Fran, had us all convinced that cooking duck was a sure way to burn your house down. I remember when we were kids, she called the fire department before she put the duck in the oven, because she was sure all that duck fat would catch fire in the oven. Of course, it didn't. Maybe I'm remembering this wrong. Even if I am, it has become a story that I love to recall, and it always makes me giggle when I plan on making duck.

This dish will be served on Thanksgiving as a turkey alternative because I'm pretty sure it'll pair perfectly well with stuffing and sweet potatoes. I figure if I keep making this, I'll be an expert at it soon, and it'll just taste that much better!

Duck Breast with Figs

Serves 6

from Stéphane Raynaud’s 365 good reasons to sit down and eat


  • 1 French shallot
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 12 green figs
  • 3 duck breasts
  • 5 fl oz ruby or tawny Port
  • 2 tablespoons creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • 1 3/4 oz butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Peel and slice the shallot, chop the parsley and halve the figs.
  2. Slash the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern.
  3. Cook them skin side down in a frying pan for 7 minutes, drain the fat, turn the duck over for 2 minutes then remove to a plate.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the Port and the creme de cassis, add the figs, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the figs, cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the butter, then season with the salt and pepper.
  7. Reheat the duck in the sauce with the figs, garnish with the shallot and chopped parsley.