Apricot and Ginger Duck Breast with Duck Fat Potato Crisps

Jenn, The Leftover Queen, has a monthly Royal Foodie Joust. This month, the ingredients are: apricots, ginger, butter.

I made a pan seared duck breast, served it over stewed apricot slices, and made a ginger and apricot sauce with shallots and chives. When the duck breast had finished cooking, I fried long potato crisps in the duck fat to serve as a garnish.

First, a lot of prep. I used a mandolin to slice a potato into thin slices. Later, I’d cut the slices into strips, but for now, I put the slices in cold water to wait until the duck was done.

I had six apricots. I sliced four of them into thin slices, and I diced two apricots, to be puréed in the food processor. After a rough chop, I added a tablespoon of white wine and processed until smooth, then strained out any skin or large chunks still remaining.

To stew the apricot slices, I used a half-stick of butter, then sliced some ginger into thin, but large, chunks (kinda like medallions). I sautéed the ginger in the butter, then added the apricots, 1/4 cup brown sugar, a couple pinches of kosher salt, and 1/4 cup white wine. I put everything on a slow simmer for 15 minutes until the apricots softened, and the liquid reduced and got syrupy.

I’d end up using the leftover syrup in the savory sauce, to thicken and sweeten it a bit. But, as the apricots simmered, I heated up 1/4 stick of butter in another pan, and sautéed some more ginger medallions, along with some chopped shallots.

When the shallots had softened and the ginger was smelling nice, I poured in the apricot purée, added 1/2 cup of chicken stock, 1/4 cup of white wine and some chives. This would reduce by half.

While the sauces were simmering, I preheated the oven to 400. I scored the skin of the duck breasts, put a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a pan (just enough to make the bottom a little slick), and seared the breasts, skin side down. I added only salt and pepper, and when the skin was ready, I flipped the breasts, and threw the pan in the 400 degree oven until the breasts were medium (probably another 5-7 minutes or so in the oven).

I removed the breasts from the pan and set them aside, and was left with that wonderful pan of duck fat. Duck fat fries are getting trendy, according to the latest issue of Gourmet magazine, which is a shame because duck prices will probably go through the roof now. I patted dry my potato slices, cut into strips, and fried in the pan of oil on medium-high heat, then sprinkled well with kosher salt.

I strained my apricots, removed the ginger medallions, then strained the shallots and ginger out of the sauce. I combined the liquids into one pan, and simmered a minute or two to incorporate everything together.

Then, plating. I put down a layer of apricot slices, put sliced duck breast over that, poured some sauce over the top, garnished with the crisps on the side and some chives on top.

The technique is above, Here’s the ingredient list. This particular meal served 4 (my parents happened to be in town).

Stewed ginger apricots:
4 apricots, sliced
1/2 stick butter
2-3 thin medallions of ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp kosher salt

Apricot ginger sauce:
Apricot purée (two apricots, diced, with 1 tablespoon white wine, processed until smooth, and strained)
1/4 stick butter
1-2 thin medallions of ginger
1 sliced shallot
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
3-4 chives

Seared duck breast:
4 duck breasts, patted dry, skin scored
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tsp olive oil

Duck fat fried potato crisps:
4 thin, long slices of potato, sliced into 1/3rds
Duck fat from searing the duck breasts
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Deconstruction: I think this one turned out really well. I purposefully seasoned the duck simply, figuring the apricot/ginger would brighten up the simple dark-meat flavor of the meat. The ginger medallions also were a good idea, as the butter picked up the ginger flavor without it being overwhelming (and man, it’s easy to overdo minced ginger). I probably would have used more chives in the sauce, and maybe garnished with chopped chive to give some of that green-grassy taste to the bright fruitiness. That’s nitpicky, though. It was a nicely savory taste, not nearly as sweet as duck a l’orange or any of the other sweet berry/cherry sauces that sometimes will coat duck. Also, I should have made a basket of the potato crisps. They were a hit.


  1. Peter says:

    A fabulous dish…simply done but executed like a surgeon…good luck in the Joust!

  2. Kevin says:

    That looks really tasty! I like the sound of the apricot and duck combo. I have been wanting to try cooking duck for a while now.

  3. Wowza! That is an amazing entry Peter! Just beautiful! I bet it tasted fantastic! Got any leftovers? ;)

  4. Michele says:

    Duck prices will probably go through the roof now? Surely they’ve been hovering over the roof for some time?

    This looks delicious. Nice riff on duck a l’orange that is orange in colour only.

  5. petermarcus says:

    Peter Thank you, sir!

    Kevin It’s worth it. I’ve cooked whole ducks, and that’s good too, but duck breast is my favorite.

    Jenn Thank you :) Alas, there were no scraps, and in fact, I was scolded for not making more potato crisps.

    Michele Yeah, it’s not cheap. But if all these chefs want to start using duck fat because it’s suddenly trendy, I hate to imagine what the future holds in store.

  6. i’m seething with jealousy over your mandoline after my last smackdown. seeeeth.

    i haven’t jousted in a few months, but after seeing this i don’t know if i should bother this month. gorgeous.

    i’m also very jealous of your camera. and your lighting.


  7. Jackie says:

    Duck fat potato crisps; now that sounds interesting!

  8. petermarcus says:

    Michelle I think I’ve cut myself more with the mandolin than with my chefs knife. It can be an evil little thing. It’s just so handy, though.

    Jackie Thanks, they were very delicious.

  9. Ginny says:

    wow! The photos had me drooling! I love the flavor combination! delicious!!!!

  10. Dharm says:

    Looks just fantastic Peter! Good luck on the joust!

  11. Nuria says:

    I have a weakness for duck… just posted a duck’s dish too! I love how you interconnected all ingredients :D . Bravo!

  12. petermarcus says:

    Ginny — Thanks! It was tasty!

    Dharm — Thanks, you too!

    Nuria — Duck is one of my favorites. These were frozen duck breasts, and as they thawed I moved them around and got a whiff of them and just started drooling… and they weren’t even thawed yet :)

  13. WOW, you did a wonderful job and the pictures were super! I am drooling just reading!


  14. ilander says:

    looks fabulous! the step by step pictures are great! you’ve given me new inspiration to use my mandoline!

  15. Graeme says:

    Fantastic guide. I could feel my craving for fruit/meat combos growing with each photograph.

    Great job.

  16. dawn says:

    You had me at “duck fat potato crisps”!! Hello!

    Wonderful, wonderful meal I’m sure.

  17. wow guys – totally great dish

  18. petermarcus says:

    Denise Thanks!

    Ilander Mandolins are really handy. I’m starting to use mine more often.

    Graeme Thanks! The apricot really did go well.

    Dawn Yeah, and the garnish ended up being one thing everyone said I should have made more of :)

    Steamy Thanks, Jaden!

  19. Beth says:

    Just made this with plums and red wine instead of apricots – utterly incredible! Perfectly balanced, my boyfriend is delirious with pleasure. Thank you so much!

  20. This duck and apricot combo of yours is pure genius! I love the look of it, love the sound of it, all that is left for me to do is to actually try it. Off to get myself a nice fat duck!