Thursday, January 27, 2011

Duck Breast with Brussel Sprouts

This meal was a special birthday dinner for my husband. Dave is a huge fan of duck but we usually only have it on special occasions. I was able to pick up some beautiful skin-on duck breasts at our local butcher and modified an Alton Brown recipe to work with the menu items I had planned. This duck is brined, steamed, and then roasted. The result is a moist, delicious meat that is super-easy to prepare. Yes, it takes a little planning, but very little hands-on work. Plan this for the weekend or a special occasion. It's exceptionally good!

Adapted from

Serves 4.

4 boneless skin-on duck breasts
4 cups brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
9 oz pineapple juice
1/4 cup sea salt
1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp black peppercorns

Arrange duck in steamer in a single
layer with the skin-side up.
  1. Combine the brine ingredients in a large resealable bag.
  2. Add the duck breasts and seal the bag, removing as much air from the bag as possible.
  3. Gently move the duck around so it is evenly coated with the brine. Refrigerate for at least 2.5 hours (I refrigerated mine for about 5), rotating the bag occasionally so the duck is evenly brined. 
  4. Place a large cast-iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 475 degrees F.
  5. While oven and pan heat, place duck in a single layer in a large steamer insert or colander set inside a large stock pot with 1-2 inches of water in the bottom. Be careful to arrange duck in a single layer, leaning it up the side, if necessary.
  6. Steam breasts for 30 minutes.
  7. Using metal tongs, carefully place steamed duck, skin-side down into cast-iron skillet. Press gently to enable as much of the skin surface as possible to contact the skillet. Cook for 7 minutes.
  8. Remove duck and let rest on a plate lightly tented with foil. Place brussel sprouts in skillet in the rendered duck fat, flat side down.  Roast for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until brussel sprouts are lightly toasted. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Lightly season with sea salt. Drizzle with balsamic, if desired.
  9. Duck will develop a crisp crust after
    roasting it skin-down in the skillet.
  10. To serve, slice duck breast and fan on plate.  Arrange brussel sprouts and sweet potato puree on the side.


  1. This recipe is how I found your website. I LOVE duck, and I had just scored some boneless duck breast at my usual supermarket, so I was looking for a good paleo way to cook it. And this recipe did not disappoint! The only thing I might do differently next time is to not roast the duck quite as long - it was definitely well done, and I like it still a little pink in the middle. But otherwise - WOW!! (Need I say that we're also Brussels sprouts fans as well.)

    I've been paleo for about a year now, and I absolutely love it. I've scoped out a lot of websites, but I think yours is the winner as far as lots of really great recipes that are very accessible to the average person - some sites get too much into hard-to-find ingredients, or expensive tools (e.g., sous vide ovens) - but you're regular folks, and I love it! Keep up the great work! :)

    1. Hi, Stephanie! Welcome to Paleo Table. :) I'm glad you found this recipe. I LOVE this preparation for duck. Thanks so much for your nice compliments. They made my day! I hope to hear from you again as you try out more Paleo Table recipes.