Grilled Duck Breasts with Orange,
Ginger and Balsamic Sauce
by John Manikowski
Long before restaurants made moullard duck breast trendy, hunters have known the irresistable taste of grilled duck breast, usually cooked rare. Farm raised moullard breasts are of course much larger, being raised primarily for their size but no outdoorsman will bother comparing the difference in taste between farm-raised and wild duck. Because one shouldn't compare apples with oranges.
Serve with garlic mashed potatoes with a little orange zest swirling into it while mashing and collard greens, steamed and sprinkled with vinegar, salt and pepper.
- 2 duck breasts from a large duck such as mallard or black duck, skinless (or substitute goose breast)
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1-1/2 cups no-salt chicken or veal stock
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
- zest from one small orange
Start a fire in an outdoor grill.
Clean and wash breasts. Pat dry and set aside.
For the sauce:
Combine orange juice and stock in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce by one-half, about 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Add balsamic vinegar and ginger, cook 2-3 minutes then add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time while whisking constantly. After butter is completely integrated add salt (if using), pepper and orange zest. Turn off heat, cover and keep warm.
When the charcoals are gray and hot, lay breasts on grate. Grill 6-8 minutes, turn and grill about 8 more minutes or until the meat is medium-rare to rare, depending how you like your duck meat cooked. (The time will vary considerably depending on the type of duck, or goose, breast used. Obviously, decrease the time with smaller ducks and increase with larger ones.)
Transfer duck breasts to a wooden platter and slice thinly on the bias. Fan out on warm plates and ladle with a generous amount of sauce.
Ridge Vineyards of Sonoma County in California came up with a winner in their 1994 Geyserville. This powerful wine is mostly zinfandel, which gives it its primary strength but also includes carignan, petite sirah and mataro. A great blend!
John Manikowski's Game Recipes
- Grilled Duck Breasts with Orange, Ginger and Balsamic Sauce
- Upside-Down Roast Canada Goose
- Roast Guinea Hens Stuffed with Mangos and Scallions
- Smoked Mallard Duck Legs with Hoisin Sauce Over Couscous
- Breast of Mallard with Morels and Pistachio-Encrusted Figs
- Calvados Pheasant
- Pheasant with Olives and Fresh Plums
- Smoked Breast Of Pheasant Salad with Pistachio and Date Dressing
- Leeky Pheasant
- Quail Sautéed with Melon, Thyme and Red Onion
- Grilled, Butterflied Wood Duck with Dried Cherry Sauce
- Sources for Wild Game
- About John Manikowski
- An Introduction to Turkey Alternatives