Duck breasts are available in most grocery stores, and they are easy to make. Score the skin so the fat renders, quickly sear and then finish roasting in the oven. This recipe from Chatelaine also features a Szechuan sauce, braised napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural stock such as Imagine Organic brand. Heinz ketchup is additive free and I used honey instead of molasses. Use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern

Sear and roast the duck

Meanwhile, saute the shiitakes

Crispy Szechuan Duck with Braised Napa Cabbage and Shiitakes


1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, divided

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) ketchup

2 tbsp (30 ml) fancy molasses

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger

2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dark sesame oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) hot-red-chili flakes

2 duck breasts, 14 oz each (400 g each)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

2 8 oz. (227 g) pkgs fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 small napa cabbage, cut into eighths lengthwise with core intact


Preheat oven to 400F (204C) Line a baking sheet with foil.

Whisk ¼ cup (60 ml) broth with half of garlic, ketchup, molasses, ginger, vinegar, soy, sesame oil and chili flakes in a small saucepan and set over medium-high. Boil until sauce thickens and reduces to ½ cup (125 ml), 3 to 5 min. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Place duck breasts, skin-side up, on cutting board. Using a sharp knife tip, cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt. Season with fresh pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium. Place duck, skin-side down, in pan. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, 8 to 10 min. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Transfer duck, skin-side up, to prepared sheet. Roast until medium-rare, 8 to 10 min. Let stand 10 min before slicing.

Reserve fat from pan in a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp (15 mml) fat to pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, 3 to 4 min. Stir into warm sauce in saucepan. Add 1 tbsp (5 ml) of remaining fat to pan, then cabbage. Sauté for 2 min. Add remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) broth and garlic, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, turning cabbage often, until tender, 5 to 7 min. Divide cabbage among 4 plates. Top with mushroom sauce and sliced duck. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine