Luscious Duck Breast Inspiration from Gascony

In this classic dish from Languedoc and Gascony in France the duck breast is sliced thinly and cooked rare.   Most ducks sold in supermarkets are sold frozen and whole, so you’ll have to first defrost the whole duck, then you’ll have to cut the duck into pieces.  The parts you don’t use can be reserved for another preparation.  The green peppercorns provide a nice tang to the lusciousness of the duck. I would serve the duck with roast potatoes. A far more complex recipe was first published by Lucien Daguin, chef of the Hotel de France in Auch in Joie de gastronomie published in 1970.  This version is a simple home cook’s way of preparing it.

Duck Breast with Green Peppercorns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Duck
Cuisine: Gascony
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 boneless duck breast halves (about 1½ pounds)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons green peppercorns
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and once it starts to brown, cook the duck breast, skin side down until it is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Partially cover the skillet if it is sputtering too much. Turn and cook the flesh side until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pour in the brandy and ignite it to flambé if desired (this is not necessary to do). Once the flames extinguish themselves remove the breast from the skillet and keep warm. Add the wine and peppercorns and let the wine reduce by half. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cream and black pepper and cook until it is a light sauce, about 5 minutes.
  2. Slice the duck breast into thin slices and spread them like a fan on a dinner plate and spoon some sauce over on each side and serve.


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