Delicious Duck Breast Recipe with Red Wine Sauce

As a food lover and sommelier, few things beat the satisfaction of finding the perfect pairing for a delicious meal. And that’s exactly what I have in store for you today with this Duck Breast with Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi recipe.

This recipe is inspired by the British chefs who never fail to amaze me with their culinary skills. It is a perfect dish to serve on special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving or even Hanukkah. The recipe combines the juicy and flavorful duck breast with roasted butternut squash gnocchi bathed in a sweet-tangy red wine sauce. Trust me, the blend of flavors in this dish is exceptional.

I first encountered this recipe on Chuck Hughes’ cooking show, where he paired it with Coco Tagliatelle braised in Duck Ragu and Broccoli Rabe Calabrian. Since then, I’ve made some variations to make it easier for you to follow while still preserving the rich and complex flavors of the original.

So buckle up and arm yourself with your favorite bottle of Pinot Noir, Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon because it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Are you tired of eating the same old chicken and pasta dishes over and over again? Do you want to impress your guests with a culinary masterpiece that is both delicious and elegant? Look no further! This Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi Recipe is the perfect solution for your next dinner party or special occasion.

First of all, this recipe is unique and rich in flavor. The combination of tender duck breast with a sweet tangy red wine sauce and roasted butternut squash gnocchi is truly a culinary masterpiece. What’s more, the addition of fennel bulbs, honey, vinegar, mustard seeds, and tangerine juice creates a complex flavor profile that will delight your taste buds.

Furthermore, this recipe is easy to make and does not require any special skills or techniques. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, even for novice cooks. Plus, the ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores. You don’t have to be a master chef or spend hours in the kitchen to create a delicious and impressive dish.

Another great feature of this recipe is its versatility. You can adapt it to your liking by making substitutions or variations. For example, you can use cherry sauce instead of red wine sauce or substitute coco tagliatelle instead of butternut squash gnocchi. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, this recipe is perfect for any occasion – from everyday meals to special events such as Hanukkah celebrations or Christmas dinners. It pairs well with a wide range of wines, such as pinot noir or port wine, making it an excellent choice for wine lovers. Plus, it is sure to impress your guests with its restaurant-quality presentation and taste.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why you’ll love this Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi Recipe. It’s unique, delicious, easy to make, versatile, and perfect for any occasion. Don’t wait any longer to try it out – your taste buds will thank you!

Ingredient List

 A dish that screams fall with warm colors and comforting flavors
A dish that screams fall with warm colors and comforting flavors

Ingredient List

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious meal:

  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Juice from half a tangerine
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

For the Butternut Squash Gnocchi:

  • 1 large butternut squash, roasted and mashed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 egg yolks

For the Wine Sauce:

  • Reserved duck breast drippings
  • Reserved duck fat
  • Reserved minced shallot
  • Red wine
  • Demi-glace

Note: Some ingredients are separately listed for each recipe component.

The Recipe How-To

 Use your favorite red wine to make the sauce and enjoy a glass or two while you cook
Use your favorite red wine to make the sauce and enjoy a glass or two while you cook

Preparing the Duck Breast

  1. Score the Skin: Using a sharp knife, make a ⅛” deep score across the skin of the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern. Be sure not to cut into the meat.

  2. Season the Duck Breast: Season both sides of the duck breast liberally with salt and pepper.

  3. Sear the Duck Breast: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the duck breast skin side down and cook for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Flip over and cook for another 4-6 minutes or until desired doneness has been achieved. Remove from skillet and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Making the Red Wine sauce

  1. Deglaze The Skillet: Place the skillet used to sear the duck breast back on medium-high heat, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of pan.

  2. Sauté Onion and Garlic: Add in finely chopped shallots and sauté until translucent. Then add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

  3. Add in Red Wine: Pour in 1 cup of red wine, scraping off any additional browned bits stuck to the bottom of pan.

  4. Reduce The Sauce: Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat to simmering point until it’s reduced by half

  5. Finish The Sauce : Add in honey ,tangerine juice ,beet slice,mustard seeds, butter little at a time whisking until incorporated.

  6. Filter The Sauce : This step is optional but will make your sauce smoother and easier on palate: strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve before returning sauce to skillet.

  7. Adjust Seasonings To Taste : Adjust seasoning as needed

Preparing Butternut Squash Gnocchi

  1. Cook Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash: Prick ½ of a butternut squash several times all over with a fork, then roast at 350°F until tender (usually takes 1 hour). Take flesh out and mash it into a smooth puree. Reserve about 2 cups for gnocchi.

  2. Make the Gnocchi Dough: Beat together mashed butternut squash, egg, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, butter(melted), chopped fennel bulb, fennel pollen(if using), salt, pepper and all-purpose flour until uniform in texture.

  3. Roll The Gnocchi: Dust some flour on work surface and gently knead dough until uniform in texture. Roll out small sections of dough into long ropes and cut dough into small pieces (about an inch each).

  4. Cook The Gnocchi : Bring water to boil and add salt generously. Cook gnocchi for ~2 minutes or until they float to the top. Drain out excess water.

Combining Everything Together

  • Once

Substitutions and Variations

 This hearty meal is perfect for a cozy night in with loved ones
This hearty meal is perfect for a cozy night in with loved ones

Making substitutions and adjustments to a recipe is a great way to personalize it to your liking. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to tweak this duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi recipe, you’ve come to the right place!

One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility. You can swap out some of the ingredients or replace certain steps with little trouble. For example, if you don’t have fennel bulbs on hand, you can substitute them with an equivalent amount of carrots or parsnip. Similarly, you can use other types of cheese such as pecorino romano or gruyere instead of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, you can skip the duck breasts altogether and go for roasted butternut squash instead. You can add more veggies such as broccoli rabe or kale for extra flavor and nutrition.

If you’re not a fan of the red wine sauce, consider using a cherry sauce or Bigarade sauce (an orange-based sauce) instead. These sauces add a sweet tangy flavor that compliments the duck’s rich taste.

Another recommendation is to try pinot noir rather than red wine in your wine reduction. Pinot noir has a lighter body and fruitier notes than most red wines traditionally used in sauces.

In addition, if time is tight and you want to cut corners without sacrificing quality, try ordering online a house-made gnocchi or coco tagliatelle braised duck ragu from one of several big-name British chefs.

Ultimately, this recipe provides plenty of room for creativity and experimentation, providing an enjoyable culinary experience every time you make it for any occasion from Hanukkah recipes to evening meals with family and friends alike.

Serving and Pairing

With its rich and robust flavors, this dish deserves a wine that can stand up to it. A full-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir is an excellent pairing for duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi.

The sauce’s sweet tangy flavor complemented by the cherry, honey, vinegar, tangerine juice mixed intense medium-high-red wine reduction plays perfectly off the wine’s fruitiness and tannins.

For a non-alcoholic option, try pairing with fresh squeezed orange juice or house-made coco tagliatelle as it covers the richness of the dish.

Another excellent pairing option is a port wine. The sweetness of the port matches the dish’s sweet components while also cutting through the umami flavors of the duck breast and butternut squash gnocchi.

If you want to keep things simple, pair your duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi with a healthy salad that includes fennel bulbs dressed in olive oil or vegetable broth.

Whatever option you choose, make sure you have enough bread on hand to soak up the delicious red wine sauce; trust me; you don’t want any of that going to waste!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

This duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi recipe is perfect for making ahead of time, storing, and reheating. To make ahead, simply prepare the dish up until baking the duck breasts and gnocchi. Instead of baking, cover with foil and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to eat.

For storing, place the duck breasts and butternut squash gnocchi in separate airtight containers in the fridge. The red wine sauce can be stored in a separate container.

When it’s time to reheat, you’ll need to do it separately for each component. Reheat the duck breasts in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Heat the butternut squash gnocchi in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

To reheat the red wine sauce, heat it in a small saucepan over medium heat while whisking constantly. Be sure to add a splash of water or more red wine if it seems too thick.

Overall, this recipe is perfect for meal prepping and hosting dinner parties. With its sweet tangy flavors and rich components, it’s easy to whip up and will leave you satisfied.

Tips for Perfect Results

To ensure that your duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi turns out perfectly, here are some helpful tips:

First, make sure to score the skin of the duck breast before cooking. This will allow the fat to render properly and prevent the skin from shrinking and becoming tough.

Second, when cooking the duck breast, start by placing it skin-side down in a cold pan. Then, cook on medium-high heat until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Flip the duck breast over and finish cooking in the oven at 400°F for about 5-7 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of doneness.

Third, when making the red wine sauce, be patient with the reduction process. Allow enough time for the wine to reduce and concentrate its flavors before adding other ingredients.

Fourth, avoid overcooking the butternut squash gnocchi by cooking it only for a few minutes until it floats to the surface of the boiling water. Overcooked gnocchi will become mushy and lose its texture.

Fifth, if you want to add some extra flavor to your dish, consider using roasted butternut squash puree as a base for your sauce instead of just relying on cream or butter.

Lastly, remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out exactly as expected. With each try, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to adjust ingredients and cooking times to create a dish that suits your personal taste preferences.


Before concluding the article, let me answer some frequently asked questions about this duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi recipe. These questions might help you in making this dish faster, easier, and better.

What sauces are best with duck?

As a sommelier, I specialize in suggesting the perfect wine pairings for every kind of dish. When it comes to duck, I highly recommend trying it with a flavorful sauce. Some of my favorite options include an orange sauce that combines tangy citrus with a spicy kick of chili, a cherry and red wine sauce that can be made quickly and easily, or a velvety redcurrant jus that adds a touch of richness to any cut of duck. No matter which one you choose, I’m confident that you’ll love these delicious and distinctive sauces.

What is the best red wine for cooking duck sauce?

When it comes to pairing wine with duck, pinot noir is a go-to choice because they complement each other’s flavor profiles quite well. Pinot noir’s acidity helps to balance out the richness of the duck’s meat. Additionally, the fruity undertones present in many pinot noirs can perfectly match the fruit often used in duck dishes.

Which sauce for duck breast?

As a sommelier, I love to suggest sauces that can complement and elevate the flavor profile of different dishes. One such sauce that can add a unique touch to duck is Hoisin sauce with its sweet, tangy and spicy flavors, typical of Asian cuisine. Other fruit-based sauces such as Orange, Cherry, Currant, and Berry, can also be great accompaniments to various dishes. Each of these sauces has its own distinct flavor, which can beautifully enhance the taste of the dishes they accompany.

What wine goes with duck breast with cherry sauce?

I’d highly recommend trying the succulent duck breast served with a slightly sweet cherry sauce that gives it a delightful taste. If you’re looking for a wine that would complement this dish, I suggest going for either a California Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel that would enhance the overall dining experience.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this recipe for duck breast with red wine sauce and butternut squash gnocchi is a must-try for any food lover. With its combination of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors, it is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your appetite. And with the variations and substitutions provided, you can make it suit your taste and preference.

Whether you are looking for a hearty meal to serve at a special occasion or simply wanting to try something new in the kitchen, this recipe has got you covered. So why not indulge in your love for good food and give this recipe a try? I guarantee that it will be a meal you won’t forget.

Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Duck Breast With Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Gnocchi Recipe

Spoil yourself with this succulent and tender duck breast, served with an irresistible red wine reduction sauce. Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes
No ratings yet
Cook Time 3 hrs 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Calories 719.1 kcal


Red Wine Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons/ 30ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon/ 15 ml mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large beet, cut into pieces
  • 3 cups/ 750ml red wine
  • 1/2 cup/125ml fresh orange or honey tangerine juice
  • 1/2 cup/125ml sherry vinegar or xeres vinegar
  • 1/4 cup/ 60ml honey
  • 4 cups veal stock
  • 1/4 cup/ 60ml cold butter, cubed
  • salt and pepper

Duck Breasts

  • 4 duck breasts
  • salt and pepper


  • butternut squash gnocchi, recipe follows
  • roasted fennel, recipe follows

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

  • 6 tablespoons/ 90ml olive oil
  • 1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • about 2 cups/500ml all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/2 cup/ 125ml veal stock
  • 2 tablespoons/ 30ml butter
  • 1/2 cup/ 125ml finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup/ 125ml grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Roasted Fennel

  • 3 tablespoons/ 45ml olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, quartered
  • salt and pepper


  • For the red wine sauce:
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the mustard seeds and shallots until the shallots are translucent. Add the beets and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, orange juice, vinegar and honey, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until reduced to about 1 cup (250 ml), about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the veal stock to a boil, then let it reduce to about 1 cup (250 ml) over low heat, about 30 minutes.
  • Strain the wine mixture through a fine sieve set over the pan of reduced veal stock, pressing down on the vegetables to extract maximum flavor; discard the solids. Stir the sauce, then continue to cook over low heat until slightly thick, about 15 minutes. Add the butter, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • For the duck breasts:
  • Score the duck on the skin side. Remove the excess fat around the breast, and remove the tip, if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the duck breast, skin-side down, in a room-temperature skillet with no oil. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until medium-rare, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the duck breasts rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes.
  • Slice the duck. Divide the Butternut Squash Gnocchi among plates. Top with the Roasted Fennel and duck. Add a spoonful of sauce and serve.
  • Butternut Squash Gnocchi:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and flour them to prevent the gnocchi from sticking.
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut-sides down, and bake for 1 hour. Let cool.
  • Scoop the flesh of the squash into the bowl of a food processor. Add the eggs, flour, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Process just until the dough is soft (depending on the size of the squash, you might need more flour). Do not over mix.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Roll portions of dough into long ropes that are 2 centimeters (about 3/4-inch) in diameter. Cut ropes crosswise into pieces that are 2 centimeters (about 3/4-inch) long. Transfer the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface, about 2 minutes. Transfer the gnocchi with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to a bowl of icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the gnocchi until golden. Add the veal stock and butter, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the gnocchi are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chives and cheese.
  • Roasted Fennel:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning to sear all sides, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 772gCalories: 719.1kcalCarbohydrates: 50.6gProtein: 67.1gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7.9gCholesterol: 419.4mgSodium: 321.8mgFiber: 10.7gSugar: 8.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Duck, Duck Breasts, Meat, Poultry, Sauces, Vegetable
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