Poached Duck Breast Recipe

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Read: Seamus Mullen Does Not Call Himself Mr. Spain

It occurred to me that if I cook the breast gently, controlling the temperature, I can maintain that rosy color, keep the breast juicy and delectable, and make sure it's properly cooked. To do this, it's important that the flesh side of the breast never directly touch the hot pan. I transfer the duck from the skin side in the hot pan directly into the infused olive oil.

This recipe appears in: Seamus Mullen's Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better

Poached Duck Breast Recipe
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  • 2 cups farro
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 guindilla peppers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 head radicchio
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 2 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 orange peel for garnish
  • 2 guindilla peppers
  • 2 branches fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt
  1. For the farro, thoroughly rinse it in a large colander under running water. Transfer to a large heavy-bottomed pot and add the carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, bay leaf, and 4 cups of water.
  2. Add enough kosher salt so the water tastes like sea water. Cover, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, until the grain is soft and cooked through. Once the farro is fully cooked, drain, and discard the aromatics.
  3. Fold the fontina cheese, butter, and radicchio into the cooked farro. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. For the duck, in a skillet large enough to fit all four pieces of the duck breasts, combine the olive oil, orange peel, peppers, thyme, and garlic clove. Place the skillet on the burner on the lowest heat you can manage and gently heat the oil until it registers 150° on a meat thermometer. If you have trouble setting your stove low enough, use a cast iron trivet or heat diffuser. I like to leave
  5. the thermometer in the oil so I can regulate the heat as necessary and maintain 150°. When you add the duck, the temperature will drop a bit, so you may need to increase the heat slightly.
  6. Score the skin of the duck breasts and season thoroughly with salt and pepper. Heat up another skillet (roughly the same size) over medium-low heat and sear the duck breasts, skin-side down, without moving them at all, until they are crispy and golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Once the skin is golden brown, remove from the pan and now place skin-side up in the 150° olive oil. Poach the duck breasts in the olive oil for 7–10 minutes, until the breasts are firm, medium rare, and just cooked through. Remove from the heat, slice, and serve with the farro.
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