Duck breast is the perfect protein for a delicious citrusy and sweet sauce. This recipe for Blood Orange and Thyme Glazed Duck is so delicious, you will wish it was blood orange season all year!
Two Ways to Cook Duck Breast
We use two different methods to cook duck breast depending on how much time we have and what we want to accomplish. These methods are Pan Seared or Sous Vide.
Pan-Seared Duck Breast
The easiest way to cook duck breasts is pan-searing. All you need here is a large nonstick skillet, and you are set! The key here is to score the skin side of the duck breast, then place it skin-side down in a COLD skillet to allow the fat to render and achieve a crispy skin.
To learn more and watch a video of this, check out our post for Pan Seared Duck with Cherry Port Sauce.
Sous Vide Cooking
We use sous vide to cook our duck breasts when we want a hands off, no fuss method that results in perfectly cooked duck breast every time. To accomplish this, you will need some type of precision water circulator. We use the Anova, but there are plenty of options on the market now. If you are new to sous vide, and don't have the equipment, then skip to the pan-seared method below.
We find that the duck breast is much more tender and is always cooked to perfection when we cook it sous vide. This is especially great for larger duck breasts or if you are cooking for a larger group.
Sous Vide Equipment
Here is the list of equipment you need to cook your duck breasts using the sous vide method:
- Precision Cooker
- Sealable Bags (zip top bags work) OR
- Vacuum Sealer and vacuum bags (like this handheld version and bags OR splurge on THIS one)
- Container or large pot
Buying Duck Breast
There are several different duck breeds that are commonly used for breast meat. Generally, we prefer Moulard or D'Artagnan Rohan. Read more about the different types HERE. We can find these most often in US grocery stores or online either fresh or frozen.
Blood Orange and Thyme Glaze
This Blood Orange and Thyme Glazed Duck Breast has an irresistible sauce that pairs perfectly with the duck. Duck and orange are a match made in heaven, and using blood oranges results in a slightly sweeter sauce that is a gorgeous color! The thyme adds a bit more savory flavor to the overall dish as well.
Check out more dishes like this below:
- Habanero Honey Soy Rack of Lamb cooked Sous Vide
- Blueberry Thyme Red Wine Reduction
- Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine
- Chicken Piccata with Caper Lemon Butter Sauce
Blood Orange and Thyme Glazed Duck Breast
- 2 Duck Breasts (we use Rohan)
- salt and pepper
- 4 sprigs thyme
Blood Orange Thyme Glaze
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot
- 3 tablespoon dry white wine
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 4 -5 medium blood oranges, juiced
- zest of 1 blood orange
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
PREPARE THE DUCK BREASTS
- Rinse the duck breast and pat dry with a towel.
- Score the fat side of the duck breast by cutting through the skin and most of the fat without cutting to the flesh. You can do this in a number of ways, but we prefer to score in a crosshatch about ¼” apart.
- Season with salt and pepper and let the duck rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to several hours to allow the skin side to dry completely. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. If you plan to pan sear the duck, make the sauce while the duck rests in the fridge.
PAN SEARED COOKING OPTION
- When ready to cook, place your duck fat-side down in a cold pan. Place the pan over medium heat and let the duck cook until the skin is crispy, and the fat has rendered. This should be about 10 minutes. Turn the duck breast over, add your thyme sprigs and cook for about 3 more minutes (internal temp should be around 135°F). Use a spoon to baste the duck breast with its own rendered fat. Remove the duck to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. The duck will be on the low side of medium after resting - around 140°F.
SOUS VIDE COOKING OPTION
- Set your sous vide bath temp to 134°.
- Add a small amount of olive oil to a hot skillet, then place the breasts in the skillet skin side down. The goal here is to get a nice brown color on the skin side only and partially render the fat. Sear for about 1 minute, peeking to check for a brown color. Remove from skillet and place on a towel to allow excess grease to drip off while you prepare the sous vide bags.
- Add fresh thyme sprigs to sous vide bag, then place the duck in the bag and remove excess air. Vacuum sealed bags are preferred, but ziplocks or similar will work as long as you can remove as much air as possible. Fully submerge the bags in the sous vide water bath and allow to cook for 90 min, or up to 2 hrs.
- About 30-45 min before the duck is ready, begin making the glaze.
- Once the duck has cooked for 90 min, remove bags from water and remove duck breasts discarding thyme sprigs. Sear in a similar manner as earlier by placing the duck breasts in a hot skillet, skin side down for 1 minute only, then flipping and searing flesh side for 30 s. Remove duck from skillet and thinly slice.
BLOOD ORANGE u0026 THYME GLAZE
- In a shallow skillet or sauce pan, add two tablespoons of butter and heat on medium until butter begins to turn brown and smells nutty. Once your butter is brown, add chopped shallots and saute until shallots are translucent (approx 3-5 min).
- Deglaze pan by adding white wine and scraping the browned bits off the bottom. Allow white wine to cook for 5 min.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Allow sauce to simmer and reduce for approximately 15 minutes and strain through a fine sieve. Return to the pan and simmer for another 15 minutes until it thickens and resembles a syrup. Once consistency is reached, keep glaze warm, setting aside until duck is ready.
Plating and Serving
- Drizzle drizzle over sliced duck breast, garnish with fresh thyme leaves and enjoy!