Duck Breast in Port Wine and Caper Sauce

Duck Breast in Port Wine and Caper Sauce 01

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Magret de Canard avec Sauce aux Câpres a classical dish from France. A good duck breast really needs nothing more than a quick sear and a slice. This recipe is from a restaurant in a small village near Uzès, the fabulous historic town in the Gard Provençal. The duck breasts were tender, very lean and the port wine & caper sauce gave it a very pleasant note. It was served with creamy polenta.


  • 4 whole duck breasts, skinless, about 8 oz (225 g) per serving, in case of butterflied breasts, slice down the middle to separate them.
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) port wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream


Preheat oven 400°F (200°C).

Note: If you decide to serve the duck with creamy polenta, you need to start preparing the polenta almost at the same time as the duck.

Remove as much as you can of the fatty skin and tissue of the breasts. Run them under cold water and dry them thoroughly with towel paper. Set aside at room temperature.

Duck Breast in Port Wine and Caper Sauce 03

Combine margarine and olive oil in a skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot. Place duck breasts in the skillet and brown each side for about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue sautéing the breasts 5 minutes longer, turning once, or until pink in the middle. Transfer duck to a plate and cover it with aluminum foil. Keep it warm in the 400°F (200°C) oven.

Pour almost all fat from the skillet, leaving only 1 tablespoon of fat. Add chopped shallot and sauté it over medium heat for 2 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the port wine. Bring to a rapid boil and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Continue boiling the port wine for 5 minutes further or until liquid has thickened a bit. Add chicken stock and cook it 5 minutes longer or until all liquids are reduced by half. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and continue stirring to reduce the sauce until it is of a smooth consistency.

You may strain the sauce if you wish or leave the chopped shallots in it. Add the capers, salt, and pepper. Warm it up again without boiling.

Cut duck breasts into slices and pour sauce over it and serve with creamy polenta.

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