This Crispy Seared 5 Spice Duck with Chipotle Orange Sauce is incredibly easy to make and presents beautifully. Your guests, or family, or date will think you are a professional chef if you spend 30 minutes whipping this together for them.
These are the basic ingredients (the 5 spice, salt, and pepper were late to the shoot and are not pictured but are all VERY important here). The broth was for the bok choy but I ended up using some fresh beef broth I had instead. If you’ve never had 5 spice, you’re in for a treat. It’s a aromatic blend of star anise, clove, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel. It’s great on duck, pork, and lots of other meats. The fatty rich duck meat stands up well to sweet heavy sauces and this blend of orange and chipotle is perfect.
Always start with room temperature meats. They should sit out for 30 minutes to an hour. Lately I’ve been letting my sealed meats sit in a bowl of warm water to help quicken the process and it works extremely well.
Your sauce will take the longest to cook, 30 minutes, so start that simmering so it can reduce while you work on the rest of the meal.
You score the duck to help render out the fat while it’s cooking. The skin also shrinks when cooking and the scoring helps this happen in a way that doesn’t distort and mangle your breasts. Mangled breasts sound like more of a disaster than they really are…but just take my word for it and score them.
The breasts will start skin-side down for about 10 minutes at medium to medium-high heat. I add a tiny bit of fat because I’m paranoid of things sticking but these will produce about 1/2 cup of their own fat and cook in their own juices so tread lightly with adding any.
Flip the breasts and cook another 8 minutes on the other side. My stove burners heat to the temperature of the depths of hell so I tend to have to keep my heat a little lower. Note the breast on the right starting to char. I turned the heat down after taking a quick peak at the skin with a pair of tongs. A little is OK but be careful not to burn them over those first 10 minutes. Burning fat or solids in the pan is a good hint your heat is too high.
When the breasts are done remove them to a plate and cover with foil for 10 minutes. They should be a nice medium rare. You’ll strain out the solids from the sauce and add a little dissolved arrowroot powder to thicken it. Slice the duck and serve topped with the orange sauce.
I served mine with a little mashed cauliflower and a baby bok choy steamed in some beef broth (chicken would be fine too but I had this fresh broth from my farmers market.
I just shared this on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday page where they highlight amazing real food. Check out others here!
- 3 cups fresh orange juice (start with 2 fresh oranges, grate and save zest, then juice. Add bottled juice as necessary)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (optional – sauce will be thinner without)
- 2 Duck breasts
- 2 tsp 5 spice
- Salt and Pepper
- Combine all ingredients except arrowroot powder in small sauce pan, simmer on medium-high, and reduce for 30 minutes.
- Strain out cinnamon, cloves, and chipotle pepper with slotted spoon
- Mix arrowroot in small bowl with 2 tablespoons water to dissolve then whisk into sauce
- Whisk for half a minute then remove from heat
- Score the duck skin in a criss-cross about ¾ inch wide. Go deep enough to get into the fat but not the flesh. This helps the fat render out and the skin cook without shrinking.
- Heat heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add a tsp of ghee or fat of choice. Very little is needed, the duck will render quite a bit of fat and cook in it.
- Sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper and rub a tsp of 5 spice onto each breast.
- Cook breast skin-side down for ten minutes. Do not disturb the breast, you want to crisp the skin and render out some fat. If it’s smoking or cooking too fast lower the heat.
- Flip breasts and cook 8 more minutes. Remove to plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
- Slice on chopping board and serve topped with orange sauce.