Recipe File: Pan Seared Duck Breast with Ducky Hominy Grits

Duck in any great quantity is bad for you.  But ever since The Fantastic Mr. Fox, combined with the Christmas dinner from A Christmas Story, I’ve been enamored with the bird in its various ways of preparation. Properly prepared, duck breast can be one of the most amazing experiences you’ve ever had with a red meat bird.  It’s like the anti-ostrich in terms of health benefits. The closest thing I can compare it to is prime steak, especially when it’s done leg confit or seared breast.

This recipe we’ll be doing pan seared breast, medium rare.


4 six ounce Duck Breasts, fat and skin attached
1 tablespoon course sea salt
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine


1 cup regular grits (not instant)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups water
5 teaspoons Duck fat (Rendered from duck breasts above)

Using a serrated knife, score the fat side of the duck breasts deeply crossways.  When done there should be 2 or 3 deep cut X shapes on the fat side of the breasts.  Lightly dust the fat side in pepper and sea salt but leave at least half of each available.  Flip the breasts over and coat the other side in the remaining sea salt and pepper.

Bring the four cups water to a boil in a deep pan.  Add in slowly the one cup of grits.  Let boil/simmer for 30 minutes.

While that’s going, combine the onion, garlic and wine into a shallow frying pan.  Cook at medium heat until most of the wine has boiled off and the garlic and onion are soft.  At just the moment where the wine is still liquid in the pan and the other ingredients are soft, place the breasts in fat side down on medium heat still.  There should be immediate sizzle when the fat is placed.  Tend carefully for 6 minutes as the fat renders and shrinks.  The red side of the breast should become a deeper red and bloody, and the breasts should shrink noticeably in size.  That’s ok.  Carefully watch because as the fat renders it will deepen the oil in the pan and you have to be careful not to let it brown. While this is going on, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

After six minutes, flip the breasts to the meat side and cook in the oil for 4 minutes.  Once done, remove the breasts and set in a roasting pan.

Take the rendered duck fat, should be roughly 5 teaspoons worth (discard the rest) and beat it slowly into the grits until they are done.

Put the duck breasts in the oven, fat side up, for six minutes.

Remove the duck breasts from the oven and slice into half inch thick slices with the fat attached.  Color should be that of medium rare steak.  Nice and juicy red in the center. Serve with a dollop of the duck fat grits on the side and a nice green salad.


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