Seared Duck and Cauliflower Puree
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • Pan Seared Duck
  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • Fine Kosher Salt
  • Duck Stock
  • Duck bones, fat and skin removed
  • 2 Large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 large spanish onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • about 4 quarts of water
  • Orange Duck Sauce
  • 4 Small Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Mirin
  • Juice of 5 oranges
  • 8 cups of Duck Stock (2 quarts)
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Cauliflower Puree
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 T butter
  • salt
  • ⅓ heavy cream (plus more, if needed)
For the Duck Stock
  1. In a large stockpot over high heat, add a touch of canola oil and brown the duck bones on all sides (this part is crucial because the browning of the bones develops the color and flavor of the sauce)
  2. Add the chopped carrots, onions and celery and sauté until golden brown. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with white wine and scrape the sucs (crispy bits) off the bottom of the pot and reduce the wine until almost dry.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for one to two minutes more. Add the crushed garlic, thyme, peppercorns, parsley stems (if available) and chopped tomatoes.
  4. Add enough water to completely cover the bones.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the flame to a simmer. (Boiling the stock will make it cloudy.)
  6. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until fully flavored.
  7. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and discard the remaining bones and vegetables (the meat from the stock will seem edible, but I strongly suggest avoiding doing so because the bones break up and are easily disguised, which can be a choking hazard)
For the Duck Sauce
  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sweat the shallots in about 2 T of butter until translucent.
  2. Add the Mirin and orange juice and reduce to ⅓.
  3. Add the duck stock and reduce until the sauce substantially and has become very thick and dark in color. This can take about 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper (do not season until the very end, because as the sauce reduces the flavor becomes more concentrated)
For the Cauliflower Puree
  1. Remove the leaves and stems from the cauliflower and chop into small pieces.
  2. In a large sauté pan, melt about 2-3 T of butter and distribute the cauliflower in one even layer. Lightly sprinkle with salt and cover with a parchment paper lid cut to the size of the pan. (the salt prevents browning)
  3. Cook over very low heat until the cauliflower is incredibly tender. Stir occasionally to prevent browning. You want the cauliflower to be as white as possible.
  4. Pour the cooked cauliflower into a high-powered blender and add the heavy cream. Puree on the highest setting until completely smooth. Add more heavy cream if need be.
For the Duck Breast
  1. To prepare the duck, cut in a crisscross pattern along the skin side of the breast. Be sure to cut all the way through the skin but not through the breast itself. This allows the fat beneath the skin to render without cooking the actual meat.
  2. Heat a medium sauté pan until very hot. Sprinkle a thin layer of salt on the bottom of the pan. Dry off the duck breasts as much as possible, and then gently place them in the pan skin-side down. If you do not hear cracks and pops as the breast touches the pan, it is not hot enough.
  3. Immediately after placing the breasts in the pan, reduce the flame to a very low simmer. If you gently shake the pan, the breasts should no longer stick.
  4. Depending on the fattiness of the breasts, the fat may immediately start to render. It is important to pour off as much fat as possible during the rendering process; otherwise you will not have a crispy skin (if they are very fatty, you could ultimately confit your breasts if they are sitting in a pool of their own fat)
  5. During this time, preheat the oven to 500 F.
  6. This process can take from 45 minutes to 2 hours if done correctly.
  7. Depending on how long the fat has been rendering in the skillet and how well you like your meat cooked, you could either flip the breast briefly and then remove it from the pan and let it rest, or you can finish it off in the oven.
  8. If you like your breast medium rare, medium or well, cook in the oven for 2-3 minutes. (Mine was slightly overcooked for my taste, and it was in the oven for 3 minutes) Technically the internal temperature of the meat should be 140 F (just remember to remove the meat from the hot pan before taking the temperature to get an accurate reading)
Recipe by A Sue Chef at