This duck breast with maple bourbon sauce and sriracha is an elegant meal that comes together in less than an hour.
Seared duck breast was always a special treat when I was a kid. It also happened to be my dad’s favorite food, so it was a treat we had quite often—although me and my brother had to fight my dad to get a taste. I’ve heard that when he was young, my dad ate whole roasted ducks by himself and I’m not surprised. Duck is delicious, especially when it has extra crisp skin and is served with maple bourbon sauce and honey Sriracha carrots.–Stephanie Le
LC What Folks Are Saying About This Duck Breast with Maple Bourbon Sauce Recipe Note
“Sophisticated, beautiful to look at, and certainly delicious.” “Sweet, spicy, robust.” “Definitely a keeper!” That’s what folks are saying about this pan seared duck breast recipe.
Duck Breast with Maple Bourbon Sauce and Sriracha Carrots
For the Sriracha carrots
- 4 cups chopped carrots (about 5 carrots)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade Sriracha sauce
For the duck and maple bourbon sauce
Start the Sriracha carrots
- Place the carrots in a pot, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the carrots are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook the duck breasts
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Have ready a small roasting pan and a wire rack placed over a plate.
- Pat the duck breasts dry. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the duck skin and season it with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the duck breasts in the skillet, skin side down, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Flip and sear the other side of each breast for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using tongs, place the breasts skin side down in a roasting pan. Roast until the duck has reached the desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare and up to 20 minutes for well-done.
- Remove the duck from the roasting pan and let it rest, skin side up, on a wire rack set over a plate for 5 minutes. Reserve the duck fat in the roasting pan for the sauce.
- While the duck rests, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the reserved duck fat from the roasting pan. Add the flour and stir until smooth and incorporated. Add the bourbon, maple syrup, chicken stock, and up to 4 teaspoons Sriracha. Continue to stir over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed and, if a thinner sauce is desired, stir in a little more chicken stock 1 tablespoon at a time.
Finish the carrots
- By this point, the carrots should be tender. Drain and blend the carrots until smooth in a food processor. Push the carrot mash through a fine mesh sieve and then stir in the butter, honey, and up to 1 teaspoon Sriracha.
- Slice the duck into 1-inch (2 1/2-centimeter) pieces. Plop a spoonful of honeyed Sriracha carrots in the center of the plate, arrange the duck on top, and dribble with the maple bourbon sauce.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This seared duck breast with maple bourbon sauce and sriracha carrots was fantastic—and I liked the carrots even better! Very nice play of hot and sweet. Definitely a keeper! I got small duck breasts, weighing about 7 ounces each, so I decreased the roasting time to 8 minutes, which resulted in perfectly tender, pinkish meat. Instead of the Sriracha, I used a homemade chile sauce, which worked just fine. (Actually, I think any hot sauce will work here.) The biggest surprise here was the carrots. My wife doesn’t like cooked carrots (probably got too many as a baby), but she loved these. I didn’t put them through a blender, instead I just mashed them through a fine meshed sieve, which worked great. And no need to dirty an extra tool. Admittedly, the carrots didn’t taste very carrot-y, but sweet and spicy. I served them with simple steamed green beans with some butter on the side. Will make the dish again for sure!
This is a sophisticated, beautiful, and certainly delicious recipe for seared duck breast. I used wild duck breasts that I shot last season, and the sweet, spicy, robust flavors worked spectacularly well with the meat. I prefer to steam my carrots, but I boiled them this time around. The flavor and sweetness of carrots are water-soluble, and while I liked the result of the dish, I’ll make sure to steam the carrots next time. The process of cooking wild duck is a bit different. Using wild duck breasts means they are usually smaller and much less fatty. The two I used weighed a total of 6 ounces. There is no need to score the skin, since it is not nearly as fatty, and no need to cook in the oven. I followed the instructions for the stovetop, giving them about 5 minutes on the skin side and 1 minute on the meat side. By then the duck had reached a medium-rare temperature of about 135°F on an instant-read thermometer and was done. The gravy—really, this is a gravy—is delicious enough to eat with a spoon, but the proportions as listed made a very thick sauce. I thinned it with an additional 2 tablespoons stock, and it was perfect. There’s no reason why the carrots can’t be cooked ahead of time and kept warm or reheated gently in a microwave. This way you can focus on cooking the duck and making the sauce. I used only 1 teaspoon Sriracha with the carrots, and that was perfect for our taste.
Originally published August 23, 2015