Duck Breast with Pomegranate Glaze and Wild Rice

By Brys Stephens | December 22, 2015
Growing up we always had wild rice at Thanksgiving and Christmas, since its assertive texture and flavor went well with meat and game. Although the wild rice may seem an afterthought in this dish, it’s an essential accompaniment to the duck and the sweet and sour glaze and sauce.


2 cups (320 g) wild rice

For the glaze and sauce:
2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
2⁄3 cup (225 g) pomegranate molasses
2⁄3 cup (155 ml) red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup (85 g) honey

For the duck:
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
4 boneless, skin-on duck breasts, about 7 ounces (200 g) each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter

Optional garnish:
1⁄2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1⁄2 cup (85 g) pomegranate seeds

Cook the wild rice according to the package directions, and keep warm.

To make the glaze and sauce: Bring the chicken stock to a simmer over high heat, reduce to about ¼ cup (60 ml), and turn off the heat. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the pomegranate molasses and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir in the honey. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Transfer half of the glaze to the saucepan with the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Keep warm. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).

To make the duck: Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Use a knife to lightly score the skin on the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern without cutting all the way through the skin. Season both sides of the duck generously with salt and pepper. Place the duck skin side down in the hot skillet. (You may need to use 2 pans or do this in batches.) Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Turn the duck over, transfer the pan to the oven, and cook until desired doneness; an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read130°F (54°C) for medium-rare after 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a plate, and brush them with the reserved 3 cup (115 g) glaze. Tent the duck loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest 10 minutes. Return the sauce to medium-low heat.

Add the butter, and stir to combine. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Slice the duck and place it on top of the rice; drizzle the sauce over all, and garnish with the fresh parsley leaves and the pomegranate seeds.

Yield: 4 servings

Excerpted from The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited by Brys Stephens. (Fair Winds Press, 2014)

  • Duck Breast with Pomegranate Glaze and Wild Rice