How to Cook Duck Breast Fillets

June 6, 2024
by HelloFresh Tips & tricks

    Duck is commonly reserved for special occasions, but it can also be used for effortless weeknight meals. Unlike other poultry, duck fillets have a texture and colour that is similar to that of red meat. It’s also safe to eat duck medium-rare it’s cooked properly. Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be serving up succulent duck fillets at your next dinner. 

     

    Types of duck meat

    There are three commonly eaten types of duck, which each have different properties. The first, Pekin duck, has a mild flavour and tender texture. The second, Muscovy duck, has a stronger flavour and is usually larger. And finally, the third option is known as Moulard duck, which is a cross between a female Pekin and a male Muscovy. The breasts are regarded as a delicacy, due to their similarity to steak and generous size. 

    Because ducks are migratory birds, they need a significant amount of fat to carry them through their long journeys. This is different from other poultry. It’s important to remember this because, in order to cook duck breast correctly, you have to render the fat, which helps make the skin crispy.

     

    How to cook duck fillets

    There are two common ways to cook duck fillets: baking them in the oven and pan-frying. Compared to chicken, duck has thicker skin and a higher fat content. Duck breasts are covered by a generous layer of fat, which needs to be melted before frying to achieve delicious, crispy skin.

    Many chefs suggest that the best way to melt the fat is to score the duck breasts while dry. Once you’ve scored through the layer of fat, cook the duck breast skin-side down in a frying pan. When the fat has melted away, you can put the duck breast in the oven to finish cooking, like one of these roast duck breast recipes

    It’s important not to roast or grill raw duck breast, as this may result in overcooked meat before the fat has melted.


    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    How to cook duck fillets in the oven

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6).
    2. Using a paper towel, dry the skin of the duck fillet. 
    3. Score the duck breast with a knife. 
    4. Season the whole duck breast fillet with salt and pepper.
    5. In a non-stick pan, cook the duck breast without oil, skin side down on medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown. 
    6. Regularly pour the fat off, then sear the opposite side for a minute. 
    7. The duck breasts should be placed skin-side up in the centre of the preheated oven.
    8. Based on how you want your duck cooked, keep it in the oven for approximately 15 to 18 minutes.
    9. After the duck has been cooked to your preference, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

    How to pan fry duck fillets

    1. Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breast. 
    2. Season with salt and pepper. 
    3. Place the duck breast skin-side down in a cold, non-stick frying pan using medium to high heat. 
    4. As the fat starts to melt, tilt the pan towards you and remove the liquid using a spoon.
    5. Fry the duck breast for roughly 6 minutes, then turn it over and cook for another 4 minutes. 
    6. Turn the duck breast with tongs to sear all sides evenly. 
    7. Remove the duck from the pan. If it’s not fully cooked to your liking, continue cooking it in a preheated oven at 220ºC/gas mark 7. 
    8. Leave the duck breast to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place before serving.

    The meat should be thoroughly cooked, with no traces of pink and clear juices flowing.


    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    Duck fillet recipes

    Serving up duck breast is always a winner, due to its tender texture and delectable flavour. There are loads of mouth-watering duck recipes to explore: 

    Looking for more delicious recipes to delight your friends and family? See the HelloFresh recipe hub to discover more!


    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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