Timber 2 Table - Pan-Seared Mallard Breast With Bourbon Plum Sauce

When it comes to easy and fast wild game meals, pan-seared duck breast is hard to beat

Pan-Seared Mallard Breast With Bourbon Plum Sauce

10 Min

Prep Time

20 Min

Cook Time





I'm a big fan of plucking ducks to cook whole, but sometimes a time crunch means we just pluck the breast area, remove the breast meat with skin on, and skin out the legs and thighs for other recipes. Skin-on breasts are the perfect choice when you need a quick meal because they cook fast and taste great, particularly when topped with this simple sauce made with plum jam and Evan Williams Outdoorsman Edition Bourbon.

Served with rice, a salad, and a roll, this pan-seared duck breast can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

We serve the breast over rice and with a nice salad and some bread for a restaurant-quality meal that can be whipped up in minutes.

Sear the duck in a cast-iron skillet with a bit of high-smoke-point oil like peanut or grapeseed. It takes only 3 to 5 minutes per side for a nice medium-rare finish. Once the duck is ready, move it to a warm platter and build the sauce in the pan. Return the duck to the pan to warm it back up and spoon the sauce over before serving.

Return the seared breasts to the pan, then spoon over the bourbon plum sauce to coat.


6 mallard or other large duck breast halves, skin on

2 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Bourbon Plum Sauce

1 cup plum jam (I used damson plum)

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cooking Instructions

Start by heating a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut or grapeseed oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Mix the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and rosemary. Sprinkle it evenly over both sides of the duck.

Season the skin-on breasts well on both sides.

Sear the duck, skin side down first, for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the breasts and sear the opposite side for a similar time or until it reaches desired doneness. Move the duck to a warm plate and loosely tent with foil.

Sear the duck breasts on both sides, then remove from the pan and hold under foil.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter and diced shallot to the pan. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shallot is soft and translucent.

The main ingredients for the pan sauce are plum jam and bourbon.

Add the plum jam, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, grated ginger, rosemary, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and the sauce to thicken. If you don't want to use bourbon in the recipe, substitute 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water.

Cook the shallots in pan drippings and butter, then add the bourbon and jam.

Return the duck breasts to the pan and spoon over the sauce to coat. Serve with rice and sides of choice.

Serve the breasts over a platter of rice, family style, or slice each breast and plate individually.