Special Dinner for Two: Duck Breast with Orange Honey Sauce

seared duck breast

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In these times when I cook for a special occasion I make a dinner like this duck breast with orange honey sauce for two but there was a time when I cooked Christmas dinner for my whole family. That included my parents, my inlaws and as time went on my brothers’ girlfriends/wives and their inlaws. At one point I believe I was cooking for 25 in an 1100 square foot house with an apartment sized range.

It had one bathroom. Fun times.

But you know what – I learned you can cook a darned fine meal even under the most trying of circumstances. Which is why even with my &*^%$##@@$#*(&^ kitchen I was able to make us a very tasty Christmas dinner. If you have not had the joy of my kitchen, revel in it below.

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Needless to say I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL THE CONTRACTOR STARTS. Which will presumably be after the first of the year. Which is not exactly precise but it’s what I’ve got.

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Nonetheless I did make a special dinner for two to celebrate Christmas. I kept the dessert simple as I just didn’t have the space to go wild and crazy with both courses. I will share that recipe later in the week. It did turn out to be one of the best cakes I have made in a while.

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seared duck breast

Seared Duck Breast with Orange Honey Sauce

Serves 2

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 orange, preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350

roast broccoli

  • Place broccoli florets in a bowl and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and some salt. Toss. Spread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven to roast.

score duck fat

  • Score the fat side of the duck breast and season with salt.

zest orange

  • Zest the orange, then peel, section and cut the sections into thirds. Set aside
  • If you need to make your jasmine rice, do so now. I make mine in an instant pot – 2 cups of rice to two cups of water and salt. 
  • Heat a large fry pan over medium heat until hot.

pan fry duck breasts

  • Place the duck breasts in the pan fat side down. Let the duck pan fry to render the fat. Keep an eye on it – you don’t want it to burn but you don’t want to be moving it around either. After about 10 minutes check to see if it is a nice golden brown color. Turn the duck over and cook for about 5 minutes and then place the duck on the pan in the oven with the broccoli for another 5 minutes to finish cooking.
  • Mix the orange juice and balsamic vinegar together.

make the sauce

  • While the duck is in the oven, make the sauce: drain the fat from the frying pan but keep it to use to fry potatoes or to flavor another dish. Return the pan to the heat and deglaze with the orange juice/vinegar. Add the orange zest.

add the honey

  • Let it cook down ’til it’s reduced by about half. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

sliced duck breast

  • Slice the duck breast and serve on the rice, drizzle with the sauce. Top with the pieces of orange

How Was the Duck Breast with Orange Honey Sauce?

It was delicious if I do say so myself. We both really enjoyed the duck – it was cooked perfectly and the sauce was light and a little bit tart on the rich meat. The fresh orange was welcome. Duck is very rich and we ended up splitting one breast and I have the other one in the freezer now for another meal.

plated duck breast dinner

The Secret to Cooking Duck Breast

One word – patience. You can’t rush it. It’s all about rendering the fat and it takes time. If you try to go too quickly you end up with a rubbery mess instead of a crispy, tasty topping for the meat below. 

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