Seared Duck Breast with Red Pepper and Pomegranate Sauce

  • Yield: 4 servings


Spice Rub:
1whole star anise
1tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1tablespoon whole coriander
1teaspoon whole allspice
2tablespoons kosher salt
Pomegranate Reduction:
3cups pomegranate juice
2tablespoons sugar
Red Pepper and Pomegranate Sauce:
1tablespoon molasses
1/2cup Pomegranate Reduction
1/4cup whole walnuts
1-- red pepper
1/2cup diced onions
2-- garlic cloves, minced
2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1whole clove
1whole cardamom pod
1/2teaspoon allspice
1/2teaspoon black pepper
-- salt to taste
1teaspoon red wine vinegar
Duck Breast:
4-- Peking duck breasts
1/3cup spice rub
1/2cup pomegranate arils


  1. To prepare the spice rub:  In a spice grinder, grind the anise, black peppercorns, coriander and allspice.  Mix with kosher salt.
  2. To prepare the pomegranate reduction:  In a small pot over low heat, slowly reduce the pomegranate juice and sugar mixture by 60%.
  3. To prepare the red pepper and pomegranate sauce:  Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Place the walnuts on a sheet tray and roast them in the oven for approximately 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, medium chop the walnuts.  
  5. Rub the red pepper with blended oil (50% canola, 50% extra virgin olive oil).  Place it in a shallow roasting pan and lightly roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, taking care to turn it occasionally.  When the skin is blackened, remove from oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, peel the skin from the pepper, remove the stem and seeds, then dice it.  
  6. In a spice grinder, grind the clove, allspice and black pepper.  Set aside.  
  7. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Once hot, add the onions and garlic and lightly caramelize them.  Add the red peppers, walnuts, molasses and spice mixture.  Allow the mixture to cook together until a sauce forms.  Add the pomegranate reduction and cook for a few more minutes, then adjust the seasoning with salt as necessary.  Once finished, add the red wine vinegar.
  8. To prepare the duck breast:  Trim some of the the excess fat from the duck breast but take care not to remove too much.  Score the skin in a crosshatch pattern.  Apply the spice rub to the skin and rub it in.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat blended oil on high until hot, but do not let it smoke.  Once the oil is hot, place the breasts skin-side down in the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes (depending upon the size of the breasts) until the skin is nice and crispy.  The sizzle from the rendering duck fat will die down when the skin is seared.  Flip the breasts over and cook them meat-side down for another couple of minutes.  Sear the side of the breasts as well to ensure a consistent sear over the entire breast.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for 4 to 5 minutes before plating.
  10. Place 1/4 cup of the sauce on each plate to create a bed for the duck breast.  Slice the duck breasts and lay the slices over the sauce.  Garnish each plate with 2 tablespoons fresh arils.

Recipe by Chef Mike Isabella / POM Wonderful