Pan Seared Wild Duck Breast

Duck hunting season has recently come to an end, but thankfully you can purchase duck breast in most good grocery or gourmet stores.


The Boys from Reds Hunting head out for a day’s duck hunting


The Chef and The Guide give us some tips on duck hunting and then preparing for cooking in the following video.



Chef Kevin Davis loves to take advantage of the abundance of local produce grown in the Yakima Valley.  In this dish, he uses the Chukar Cherries that he turns into a rich Agrodolce. An avid hunter himself,  he prefers duck breast from a Mallard, but suggests you can use Chicken or pheasant if you don’t have duck.


Pan Seared Wild Duck Breast

Chukar Cherry Agrodolce, Pan Roasted Butternut & Wilted Snow Pea Vines

Serves 2

  • 2 wild Mallard Duck breasts
  • Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
  • Blended oil, for cooking
  • Agrodolce
  • ¼ cup Port
  • ½ cup dried Chukar Cherries
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange

Pan Roasted Butternut

  • 2 tablespoon blended oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced butternut squash
  • To serve, snow pea vines, or winter greens
  1. To make the Agrodolce, 1-2 hours ahead of time, bring Port to a boil in a small pan, pour over the cherries and allow cherries to plump up in liquid.  Place mustard seeds in a non-stick pan over medium heat and shake pan until seeds start to pop.  Add balsamic and sugar and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a syrup consistency, then add the cherry port mixture and reduce to a sauce consistency.  Add orange zest and a pinch of salt, remove from heat and allow to macerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. To prepare the butternut, heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add squash and cook, tossing pan for 2-3 minutes to caramelize, then reduce heat to low and cook until tender – about 8-10 minutes. Season to taste and keep warm.
  3. To prepare the duck, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan over high heat. When close to smoke point, add the duck to pan and sear 2 minutes per side, then reduce heat to medium and cook until just medium rare, or 125 degrees in the center. Chef Davis recommends not cooking past this point as it won’t be tender. Transfer to a plate and rest a few minutes.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add a handful of the pea vines and cook for a minute or two until just wilted and tender. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, slice duck across the grain.  Reheat Agrodolce and spoon a swirl of the liquid on plate.  Place a mound of squash on top, then the braised greens.  Arrange sliced duck breast over vegetables, then top with some cherries and drizzle over the remaining Agrodolce liquid.