Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Roasted duck breast with plum sauce

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(70 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 15 mins - 20 mins Plus resting


Serves 2
This easy yet impressive recipe makes a stylish main course for a special occasion

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal904
  • fat64g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars38g
  • fibre2g
  • protein44g
  • salt1.05g
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  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 thyme sprig


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 1 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

For the plum sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g dark red plums, halved, stoned and cut into small wedges



    The juiciest fruit in the stone fruit family, plums come in many different varieties, some sweet…

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock


  1. For the sauce, fry the shallot in the oil for 5 mins or until softened but not coloured. Add the plums and sugar, stirring for a few mins until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red wine and stock, then simmer for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly thickened. Keep warm or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for 6-7 mins, then turn and add the thyme, star anise and butter. Allow this to melt, basting the duck with the juices, then transfer everything to a small roasting tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 mins for pink or 10-12 mins for well done.

  3. When the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, then rest for 5 mins while you finish everything else.

  4. To serve, thinly slice each duck breast on a chopping board. Arrange on each plate along with a spoon of the Creamed potatoes, some of the plum sauce and the Buttered spinach.

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Comments (71)

spongemaker1's picture

The sauce was fantastic - it does make alot but there were 4 of us for dinner & I had roasted a whole duck. I just simmered the sauce for about half an hour & it reduced to a lovely consistency & wonderful flavour - we really enjoyed it.

kategarnham's picture

Yummy! As with most other people I used less stock than it says to use and all the better for it - I actually let it bubble away for a while so it was more of a sticky jammy sauce and it was lovely!

hoiles123's picture

I agree with the previous comments, I only used 3/4 of the stock, and only needed half of the sauce for the dish....overall a lovely meal.

shellyshearing's picture

Made this for dinner party. Gave it 4 stars and not 5 as I thought plum sauce was slightly too sweet so added tsp lemon juice to it. I also halved the amount of stock which may have made it taste sweet? but plenty of sauce. I also pureed plums rather than leaving whole which was lovely. Served with good food dauphinois potatoes and green beans.

cynthjohn's picture

Very good, but far too much liquid in the plum sauce; will make it again but add about a third of the stock amount. Love James recipes (and enjoyed his dancing even better!).

jayne_1102's picture

Has anyone frozen the plum sauce - I have an abundance of plums and look for different ideas other than Jam - thanks

tillerman2's picture

It was very good but I felt there was too much liquid in the plum sauce.

lredhead's picture

I really enjoyed this meal. I love duck and this meal was fantastic. Served it with chilli spinach and potato gratin (used gruyere). Would definitely make again

donovan68's picture

Great dish, many thanks Mr Martin. Just prepared it for our Bank Holiday meal & everyone really enjoyed it. I decided to put the spinach throught the mashed potato which was a good idea. Great taste & plenty of empty plates.

chadford's picture

Very nice, I'll be doing this again.
It makes more sauce that you need, about half would be fine.
In terms of cooking the duck 10-12 mins cooking is too long, about 7-8 will give you a fairly well done duck.

cookingfantastic's picture

Did this for a dinner party was even able to pan fry duck prior to guests arriving then put in oven during starter James Martin is a genious!!!!! Really beautiful dish loads of flavour ;-)


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