Duck Breasts with Honey, Ginger and Lavender

We’ve been finding D’Artagnan duck breasts at our local grocery store lately and so thought, why not – let’s make duck! After eating chicken over and over again, it turned out it was a great alternative and very easy to cook.


This recipe just requires a few hours of marinading, which really lends a wonderful flavor to the dish.


I also fell in love with tarragon after using it in this dish – an herb that (surprising to myself) I’ve almost never used.


Now I can’t wait to find other ways to add tarragon into our recipe rotations!


  • 2 whole boneless duck breasts
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp white wine Worcestershire
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dried lavender
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil


  1. Cut whole duck breasts into two halves and trim all excess fat. Score the fat side of the breasts by cutting an X in the middle of the breast.
  2. Marinate breasts in half of the crusted pepper, Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp ginger, lavender, and shallot slices. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. In a large pan, combine wine, stock, vanilla, remaining 1/2 tsp of ginger reserved crushed pepper, and sliced shallots removed from the top of the duck breasts, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and reduct liquid by half.
  4. Add honey and tarragon and reduce further to sauce consistency.
  5. Remove from heat and swirl in butter. Season to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  6. In another skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Place duck breasts in pan, skin side down, and sauté for 5-6 minutes until lightly brown. Turn breasts and continue to cook on meat side for 2-4 minutes until medium rare. The juices should run pinkish.
  7. Remove breasts from the pan and slice at an angle. Fan breasts and top wit the sauce. Garnish with sprigs of tarragon. Serve with wild rice studded with dried cherries and minced green onions.

From The Wine Lover’s Cookbook by Sid Goldstein

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