Lacquered duck with grilled figs

Lacquered duck with grilled figs

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(4 ratings)

Ready in 45-55 minutes

More effort

Serves 4
The sweet, rich flavour of chargrilled figs combined with pungent spices is spectacular with duck - serve simply with a peppery leaf salad

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal564
  • fat35g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs36g
  • sugars16g
  • fibre3g
  • protein29g
  • salt0.34g
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  • 4 duck breasts, each weighing about 200g/8oz
  • 3 oranges, peeled and sliced across into rounds



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 6 ripe figs, stalks trimmed



    Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

  • 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…

For the syrup

  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
    Coriander seed

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 1 cinnamon stick



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 4 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…

  • 4 bay leaves, plus extra for garnish


  1. Put all the syrup ingredients in a small, heavy-based saucepan. Add 6 tbsp water, season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the syrup has reduced by just over half and is very sticky. Remove from the heat.

  2. Put the duck breasts skin side down in a cold frying pan (it's unusual to start frying in a cold pan, but with duck this is often a good idea - it makes the fat render slowly from under the skin, keeping the flesh really moist). Fry slowly for about 15 minutes until the skin is golden. At least 100ml/31⁄2fl oz fat will be rendered from the skin. (Once cool, keep the fat in the fridge – it’s great for roasting potatoes.)

  3. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Sit the duck breasts skin side up on a rack in a roasting tin. Spoon a little of the syrup on top and leave for 2-3 minutes until sticky. Tip any syrup that drips into the bottom of the roasting tin back into the syrup in the saucepan, and reheat to liquefy if necessary. Repeat this technique – spooning the syrup over the duck and leaving it to stand – until there are three or four layers and you have used up most of the syrup. If it gets too thick, just add 1-2 tbsp water. Conversely, if it’s too thin, add another 1 tbsp sugar. Arrange the orange slices round the duck and spoon the last splash of syrup over the top.

  4. Roast the duck for 8-12 minutes until done to your liking. Meanwhile, cut the figs in half lengthways, tip into a bowl and toss with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Heat a ridged cast-iron griddle pan (or a heavy frying pan) on the hob until very hot, then chargrill the figs for 2 minutes on each side.

  5. Once the duck is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 3 minutes, then cut each breast at an angle into two or three slices. Transfer to four serving plates with the orange slices and figs, and garnish with extra bay leaves and the star anise from the syrup.

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Comments, questions and tips

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16th Feb, 2013
Skipped the star anise and used chilli flakes rather than fresh chill. Easy to make and very tasty. Great valentine's dish!
24th Jul, 2010
Loved it !!!
15th Sep, 2009
Am staying in Provence with my wife and our 3-month old baby, so decided to stay in and cook each evening. Last night we did this dish - firstly the duck breasts here are about twice the size back home in Surrey - followed the recipe as is and it was very good. Served it with a small avocado and green leaf salad and a local vinaigrette dressing. (Am saving the fat for roasties later this week!) Trying the Gordon Ramsay Coq au Vin tonight so will update on that tomorrow.
26th Mar, 2008
This was lovely, very nice, however I didnt completely follow the recipe to the T I cooked it in the pan after draining all the fat off. I dont like anise so skipped that and didnt want it hot so I skipped the chilli as well. but tasted great.
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