Spiced Duck with Figs | DonalSkehan.com, A brilliant alternative to turkey at Thanksgiving.
  • main-meals

Spiced Duck with Figs

November 21

While Turkey will most likely be on the menu for most American’s this Thanksgiving I’m not sure I can do the big roast so close to Christmas. Instead duck is a wonderful alternative, which I would argue has far more flavour and possibilities. This recipe is one of my favourite ways to cook duck breasts and is delicious served with the sweet and sticky sauce and figs.


  • serves Serves 4
  • time 30 mins + marinade time


  1. 1. Score the duck diagonally with a sharp knife. In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Add the duck breast and toss to coat completely. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1-2 hours.
  2. 2.
    Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  3. 3. Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, reserving the remaining liquid in a small sauce pan. Pat the duck breasts completely dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle them all over generously with sea salt and five spice powder. Place the duck skin side down in a large heavy based pan with an oven proof handle. Cook the breasts over a low to medium heat for about 6-8 minutes or until the fat begins to render out and the skin has good colour. Spoon off any excess fat (This can be saved in a sealed jar in the fridge for roast potatoes). Turn the breasts and then add in the figs tossing to coat in the juices.
  4. 4. Place the pan in the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Bring the reserved marinade to a steady simmer over a high heat and reduce until slightly thickened.
  5. 5. Once cooked, rest the duck breasts for 5 minutes under tin foil on a chopping board.
  6. 6. Slice thinly and transfer to warmed plates. Spoon over the reduced sauce and serve with the warm figs, salad leaves and toasted hazelnuts.

Rate this recipe

Average rating 4.3 / 5. Vote count: 7

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this recipe.


4 large duck breasts

1 tsp five spice powder

Sea salt

6 figs, sliced in half

75g hazelnuts, toasted

Dressed salad leaves, to serve

For the duck marinade: 

3 tbsp of dark soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 orange

3 tbsp of honey

1 tbsp of rice wine

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely minced

3 star anise

You'll Need

Large bowl

Large heavy based pan with oven proof handle