Who says you can only serve lingonberries with Swedish meatballs? This perfectly seared duck breast with lingonberry sauce is a simple and beautiful meal.
I absolutely love lingonberry jam. It’s a sweet and tart combo that works so well with rich or fattier dishes. That’s why it pairs perfectly with seared duck breast.
In this recipe, perfectly seared duck breast is paired with mashed potatoes seasoned lightly with nutmeg, duck fat fried arugula, and lingonberry sauce for an easy dinner that comes together surprisingly quickly.
How to Cook a Perfectly Seared Duck Breast:
Cooking duck breast is not terribly difficult, so if you’re feeling intimidated, stay with me! You’ll be surprised at how easily you can whip up a delicious and perfectly cooked duck breast meal.
Start with a larger duck breast. I love moulard magret duck breast, from D’Artagnan. The duck breasts are quite large; typically about 1 pound per breast. My husband and I usually split one and it’s plenty, so if you need to serve 4 people, you will likely be fine with just two breasts.
Bring the duck breast to room temperature by allowing it to set out on the counter for 15-20 minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. It’s much easier to cook the duck breasts after the temperature has been brought down as opposed to cooking it straight from the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to cook the duck, you will want to score the skin. This allows the fat to render more evenly and gives you crispy skin. You can score in a cross-hatch pattern, however, I prefer to score at an angle, with score marks about 1/8” apart across the entire length of the breast.
After the duck as been scored, season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the breast, skin-side down, in a cold skillet and turn the heat to medium. Allow the skin to cook for about 15 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. Be careful not to burn the skin! You may choose to spoon out fat from the skillet and into a heat-proof dish and save it for another use.
Flip the duck and cook an additional 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast, until an instant-read thermometer reaches your desired internal temperature. If you want medium rare, cook the breast until 140ºF at the thickest part. Transfer the duck breast to a plate and cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
That’s it! While it may seem intimidating, it’s really more about just waiting for the breast to render the fat from the skin.
How to Make Duck Breast with Lingonberry Sauce:
To make this dish, you’ll start with the mashed potatoes. Boil Yukon gold potatoes until very soft. Use a hand-mixer or potato masher to blend with ricotta cheese, whole milk, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper until smooth and creamy. Keep warm.
Next, move on to the duck breast following the instructions above.
While the duck breast is cooking, prepare the lingonberry sauce by sautéing shallots in a touch of duck fat and butter. Once soft, add the lingonberry jam, water, sugar, and juice of a small lemon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15-25 minutes until reduced and thickened. Turn off the heat and mount butter into the sauce, whisking until emulsified. Set aside.
Finally, prepare the arugula. Remove all but a tablespoon or two of duck fat from the skillet (reserve it for another use!). Sauté a sliced shallot in the oil until softened and then add the arugula. Cook for a few minutes until wilted and season with salt and pepper. That’s it!
To serve it up, divide the mashed potatoes between shallow bowls and pile the arugula on top. Arrange the duck breast on top of each dish and drizzle the lingonberry sauce on top. It’s restaurant-quality food cooked at home!
Looking for more duck recipes? Check my archives!
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Seared Duck Breast with Lingonberry Sauce
- Sauce pan
- Large pot
- Hand mixer
Ricotta Mashed Potatoes:
- 1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes peeled and quartered
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup whole milk plus more, as necessary
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg plus more as desired
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- Salt to taste
- 2 Moulard magret duck breasts skin scored and breasts seasoned all over with salt and pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons reserved duck fat
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 shallot peeled and minced
- ½ cup lingonberry jam
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 shallot peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
- 4 ounces arugula
- Salt and pepper
Prepare the Potatoes:
- Cover the diced Yukon gold potatoes with water and add salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes until very soft. Drain into a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the ricotta, milk, butter, nutmeg, and white pepper to the bowl and use a hand mixer or potato masher to blend until smooth and creamy. If desired, add a few splashes more of milk until desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt. Add more nutmeg or white pepper to taste, as desired. Keep the potatoes warm as you prepare the rest of the meal.
Start the Duck:
- Place the duck breasts, skin-side down, in a skillet (ensuring that there is enough room for both of them without them touching each other). Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes until the skin is very deep, golden brown and the fat has rendered out. As you cook the duck skin, use a spoon to remove some of the duck fat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl.
- Flip the duck breasts and cook an additional 7-10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 140ºF when inserted at the thickest part of the duck breast. Transfer to a wooden cutting board and cover with foil. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Prepare the Lingonberry Sauce:
- While the duck is cooking, prepare the lingonberry sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and two teaspoons of the reserved duck fat in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the lingonberry jam, lemon juice, ¼ water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Once thickened and reduced, turn off the heat. Mount the butter into the sauce and stir until emulsified and glossy. Set aside.
Cook the Arugula:
- Immediately after the lingonberry sauce is cooked, prepare the arugula. Remove all but a tablespoon or two of duck fat from the skillet and transfer to the heatproof bowl.
- Turn the skillet to medium heat and add the sliced shallot. Cook for 2 minutes until softened.
- Add the arugula and cook for 3-4 minutes until mostly wilted. Turn off the heat and allow the residual heat to cook the arugula the rest of the way. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mashed potatoes between shallow bowls. Pile the arugula on top and arrange the sliced duck breast on top. Spoon the lingonberry sauce on top. If you like, sprinkle a touch of nutmeg on top of the mashed potatoes and garnish with just a hint of flaky sea salt on top of the lingonberry sauce. Enjoy!