French Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast

French Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings

This tempting honey-lacquered duck breast recipe is fantastically easy to prepare and it will create a beautiful showpiece entrée for your guests. Serve the duck with its honey glaze along with colorful steamed vegetables and a rich gratin to create a full, special occasion meal.

The recipe uses duck magret or "magret de canard," the breast of a Moulard duck raised for foie gras. The Moulard is a large bird known for its ample, fatty breast meat. Two-star Michelin chef Andre Daguin was reportedly the first to sear a magret like a steak at the Hotel de France in 1959. The impromptu recipe caught on and is now found in restaurants the world over. 

Magret translates to "breast," and it can technically mean the breast of any poultry except chicken -- the French word for chicken breast is "blanc." Magret almost always refers to duck, however. 

Ingredients

  • 2 duck magrets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: chopped walnuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    French Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

    skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Cut small slits in the skin side of the duck breast. The slits should be shallow without slicing all the way through into the flesh.

    Cut small slits in the skin side of the duck breast

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Season the duck e both sides with the salt and pepper

    Season the duck e both sides with the salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Sear the duck breasts, skin side down for 3 minutes.

    Sear the duck breasts, skin side down

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and flip the duck breasts over, cooking them for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

    duck breasts cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Transfer them to a plate and cover them with foil so they retain their warmth.

    Transfer duck to a plate and cover them with foil

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Pour off the rendered duck fat and turn the heat up to medium.

    Pour off the rendered duck fat

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  9. Deglaze the skillet with the honey and balsamic vinegar, scraping up the browned bits as the sauce cooks.

    Deglaze the skillet with the honey and balsamic vinegar

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  10. Simmer the honey vinegar glaze for 2 to 3 minutes until it turns slightly thick. Season with just a dash of salt.

    Simmer the honey vinegar glaze in the skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  11. Return the duck breasts to the pan, turning them a few times to coat them evenly with the honey glaze.

    Return the duck breasts to the pan with glaze

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  12. Carve and serve them immediately, garnished with a drizzle of extra glaze and the chopped nuts if desired.

    French Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Cook's Tips

  • Duck magret is best-served medium rare, although this might not suit all palates. 
  • Pour the rendered duck fat into a clean container. Let it cool, refrigerate it, and save it for other culinary uses. It will keep for months and add a different flair to a variety of recipes, particularly potatoes. You can also use it to sear other meats, delivering a unique, extra kick of flavor.