Sweet and spicy pomegranate chili sauce is the perfect compliment to crispy skin duck breast in this simple recipe with major wow factor. Many cooks shy away from cooking duck having had greasy or stringy duck at some point, but duck breast is actually simple to make, pretty difficult to screw up, and tastes amazing. The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance (recommended) and if you happen to have a Sous Vide setup and an instant pot, this restaurant worthy dish will come together in just 20 minutes with about 10 minutes of active time! 

For years I've served this with smoky maple sweet potato puree, but this year I tried it with the amazingly creamy and smoky Longhouse Hominy Grits from Corn Mafia. Served with a side of braised greens and glazed carrots it was restaurant worthy perfection. From valentines day date night in to a dinner party with friends this is one of my go-to favorites.

Serves 4



**If you have a sous vide setup, start up to 3 days ahead, season the duck breast generously with salt and pepper an sous vide at 130 for 2 hours, chill and refrigerate. The night before you plan to serve, remove the duck breast from the sous vide bag, pat dry with a paper towel and leave it skin side up, uncovered in the refrigerator. 

The Sauce

whole dried espelette peppers

Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium heat until it turns slightly golden in color, swirl the pan often but don't stir with a spoon. This prevents crystals from forming.

Add the juice, broth and chilis and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by half and chilis are completely soft.

Pour the contents in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Add the balsamic, maple syrup, cumin and salt and pepper. Blend then taste and adjust seasoning.

Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated covered. Just warm sauce briefly before serving with the duck.

The Grits

Perfect grits can be made in 20 minutes total in a pressure cooker with 3 minutes active time. Or they'll take 45 minutes to an hour on the stove. Either way start your grits before starting the duck using the linked recipes. 

The Duck

If you have sous vide the duck breast ahead of time, simply take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Finishing the duck will take 15 minutes including resting time. 

If you do not have a sous vide or you just want to use a classic Gordon Ramsay technique, this process will take you 20-30 minutes including resting time.

Start the night before by patting the duck breasts dry, seasoning generously with salt and pepper and leaving them uncovered skin side up in your refrigerator overnight.

  1. If you did not sous vide preheat the oven to 395.
  2. Start with a dry COLD cast iron skillet or non-stick pan. Place the duck in a cold pan. Let me say that again because it's important, start with the pan COLD and raise the temperature gradually to blazing high so that the fat renders out but the skin gets crispy. Starting with a hot pan will sear the skin rather than rendering the fat. You want to keep the skin side down until the fat has come out and the skin is a nice crispy golden brown. Flip the duck and briefly sear the other side. If you have sous vide the duck you will remove from the pan at this point and allow to rest skin side up. If not, continue with the next step.
  3. Pour the fat out of the pan and flip the duck breasts again skin side down.
  4. Place the pan in a preheated 395 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let them rest before slicing and serving on either Longhouse Hominy Grits or smoked Maple Sweet Potatoes. 

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