Friday Recipe: Duck with Port Wine and Mushrooms

About a month ago, I decided to make a nice special meal for my wife for mothers’ day. I asked her what she wanted, and she said duck. This made me happy, since I consider duck to be one of the most wonderful foods in the entire universe.

I decided that instead of making one of my regular duck dishes, I’d try something new. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do: I just went to the store, and looked around to find something that appealed to me. I ended up creating a dish that’s a real winner: duck breast in a port wine and mushroom sauce.


  • 2 large duck breasts
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter.
  • 2 cups red wine.
  • 1/2 cup port wine.
  • 1 pound wild mushrooms, sliced.
  • 4 or 5 dried morels, rehydrated in water, then drained and sliced thinly.


  1. Prepare the duck breasts: Take your duck breasts, trim off any excess fat or gristle, and cut a cross-hatch pattern into the skin on the breasts. (This will both help the marinade penetrate, and make the fat in the skins render more cleanly.)
  2. Make the marinade: Put 2 shallots into a food processor, and mince them. Then add the red wine, and a generous dose of salt.
  3. Put the duck in the marinade, and let it sit for an hour or two.
  4. Sear the duck breasts:
    • Heat an unoiled pan till it’s good and hot.
    • Take the duck breasts from the marinade, and pat them dry, ten sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
    • Put the duck breasts into the pan, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook them skin side down for 3 minutes. Then turn them over, and cook for another three minutes on the other side.
    • Then remove them from the pan, and let them rest for five minutes. (You can go ahead and start the sauce while they rest.)
    • Slice the breasts into medium-thick slices. You want them sliced a bit more thickly than is typical for a seared duck breast, because they’re going to cook a little bit in the sauce, and you still want the centers to be nice and rare.
  5. Make the sauce:
    • Slice the second two shallots as thinly as possible.
    • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add sliced shallots and the minced garlic, and cook until the shallots are transparent.
    • Add the mushrooms, and some salt. Cook until the mushrooms are done. (How long that’ll take will depend on the mushrooms you picked; fresh chanterelles will cook in seconds; portobellos will take a few minutes.)
    • Add the port wine, and let the sauce reduce until most of the liquid from the wine is gone. Taste it now, and add salt and pepper.
    • Remove from the heat, and add another pat of butter, and stir it around until it melts.
  6. Put it all together:
    • Add the sliced duck breast to the hot sauce, and toss it so that the duck is well coated.
    • Serve – arrange the duck slices on the plate, and cover with a generous helping of the mushrooms.

I served this with some slow-cooked collard greens, and a nice bottle of 1997 Australian Shiraz.

0 thoughts on “Friday Recipe: Duck with Port Wine and Mushrooms

  1. AnyEdge

    I’ll just go ahead and get the indignancy started:
    I’m a recovering alcoholic! How dare you include a recipe on your blog with alcohol in it?! Don’t you know you’re hurting people??
    This looks great. And actually, if I’m careful, I can have wine sauces. They just have to be cooked for a VERY long time.

  2. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    Re Comrade PhysoPutz:
    Read the damn post, I cooked it a month ago, before you complained about not including pictures. I’ll take photos next time I cook something that I plan on blogging. Until then, use your imagination.

  3. Armor

    I am always enjoy when i find strangly attractive, pertinent, creative, eclectic and ” décontracté* ” web content as your realy nice scienceblog.
    And including culinary recipe in a math and physic based blog, it’s well done: sense of humour and nver loosing in mind the good moment of life.
    I will try your recipies ( i guess you are talking about PORTO wine)
    actually i am living in Colombia (*i am french), and people here don’t appreciate very much duck, i will try it with a chicken, good duck are not easy to find unfortunatly)
    Cooking and math and physic have a lot of connexions, it’s sure. COOKING, PHYSIC and MATH are sciences (and also i think are spiritual ) in booth domains : nature observations, cogitations and experimentations, only provide suculent results.
    Surtout avec un bon Bourgogne avant, pendant et aprés ;-]
    Hope you will have a long and creative life, thank’s for sharing knowledge and best regards..
    PS > i will link no more less than now your blog in my blogroll.


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