Braised Dijon Duck

Braised Duck is so simple to prepare that in less than two hours you can have an entree that your most discriminating guests will be glowing with amazement. The flavors you get from braising fowl are incredibly savory and rich. The meat is tender and simply falls off the bone and is so succulent. Prepare in the Dijon style and you will be hitting this out of the ball park.

As a rule, you can count on one duck (approximately 5 lbs.) to serve 4 people. Accompanied by baby French Haricots Verts and small sauteed Yukon Golds and you will have an entree that is fit for any holiday or special occasion. The following ingredients should be on your shopping list:

1 Young Duck, approx. 5 lbs., cut up (see below)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of dry white wine
2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Several pinches of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of cornstarch

With the whole duck before you, it's time to cut it up so that you have 4 main parts, 2 breasts and 2 thigh and leg combinations. the remainder of the parts will be used to create your stock. Most packages of whole duck will come with the neck, heart, and liver. All these parts will also be used for your stock.

Begin by laying the duck breast side up on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, begin by separating each thigh from the body. Cut along the side until you reach the bone/joint connection to the chest and with your hands, push back until you see the joint. With your knife, cut between the two joints and separate the thigh. Cut away any excess skin that hangs from the thigh and leg and set aside. Repeat the process for the other thigh/leg combination. Important, do not separate the leg and thigh as you want those to remain as one piece.

Next, with your knife, cut along the breast bone that separates each breast. Cut straight through. Spread the chest open and cut through the ribs as close as you can to the back bone. You now have two breasts separated. Do NOT debone the breast, but make sure again that excess skin that hangs out is cut and set aside.

Set the 4 pieces on a cutting board and pat dry. Sprinkle a bit of garlic powder on both sides of each piece.

Gather together all the unused parts - neck, excess fat, backbone, liver, and heart. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Be sure to spray it with a bit of cooking spray, but don't add any oil or butter to the pan. The duck parts will produce plenty of that. When pan is heated, add all the unused parts and saute for about 15 minutes until nicely browned on all sides. Be sure to flip the pieces every 5 minutes and to watch so that bottom of pan doesn't burn.

Once browned, remove pieces from the pan and pour the duck fat into a heat resistant bowl. Set aside. De glaze the pan with a cup of chicken stock. Add another half cup and reduce heat to low and return the pieces to the pan. Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now prepare for sauteing the breasts, thighs, and legs. You probably are wondering about the wings, still attached to the breast. Well, go ahead and cut the tips off to the first joint and discard. The other two parts of the wing can stay attached to the breast. Or you can completely separate the wing from the breast and prepare along with the other parts. Gather another large frying pan and spray it with cooking spray and add a few tablespoons of the duck fat you had set aside. Heat the pan over medium high heat and add the breasts, thighs, legs, and wings skin side down to the pan. Saute until skin is golden brown, usually about 7 minutes or so, just keep an eye on it. Turn pieces over and continue to saute for another 5 to 7 minutes.

When all sides are golden brown, remove all from the pan and pour excess duck fat into a heat resistant bowl. De glaze the pan with the white wine and the remainder of the chicken stock. Add the onions and garlic, along with the white pepper. Now, remove the pieces from the OTHER pan and pour the stock into the second pan. Stir well and then add the breasts, thighs, legs, and wings back in. Turn them several times to coat all sides. Reduce heat to just above low, cover, and braise for about 90 minutes or until the meat is tender. About every 15 minutes, turn the pieces over.

When meat is ready and tender, remove them from the pan onto a waiting plate. Bring the heat back up to medium. In a glass, add the cornstarch and water together and stir until cornstarch is well diluted. Set aside. Lower temperature as soon as a slow boil returns. Now add the Dijon mustard to the pan and stir until mustard is well blended. Slowly add the cornstarch and water to the stock and stir. Watch as the stock begins to thicken. When it thickens to the point that it can coat a soup spoon, the sauce is perfect.

Remove the pan from the heat and add your butter. Stir until butter is well melted into the sauce. Now taste for proper flavor. Add some of the salt as needed. To serve, place a serving portion of the duck on a plate and spoon some of the sauce over. You may sprinkle a bit of fresh chopped parsley over the portion as a final step if you want. Be sure to serve hot with your choice of side dishes. Enjoy!!


  1. You've outdone yourself this time, Nick! I love duck and this version sounds incredible.

    (Btw, served goose for Xmas. A bit like duck but gamier and much less tender.)

  2. Yum. The flavors here sound scrumptious. Definitely going to have to try this one!