Delicious Duck in Red Wine: The Perfect Dinner Recipe

Welcome, wine and food enthusiasts! Today, I bring you an exquisite recipe that will tantalize your taste buds and transport you straight to the French countryside. I am talking about none other than Duck in Red Wine, a dish that every epicure must try.

The subtle gaminess of duck paired with the intense flavor of red wine creates a symphony of flavors in your mouth. Every bite is a tale of indulgence and decadence, perfect for those special occasions when you want to impress your guests. Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner for two or hosting a lavish gathering, this dish always leaves a lasting impression.

In this recipe, we’ll be using duck breasts bathed in a full-bodied red wine sauce. The recipe is easy to follow and won’t take much of your time. So let’s get started! Grab your apron, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir, and let’s cook some duck!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Duck in Red Wine
Duck in Red Wine

Are you looking for a luxurious and succulent dish that will impress your guests? Then look no further than this Duck in Red Wine recipe! You’ll love this recipe for its rich, full-bodied flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

This indulgent dish is perfect for a fancy dinner party or an intimate date night with your significant other. Imagine the aroma of juicy duck breasts simmering in a fragrant Pinot Noir sauce, infused with garlic, thyme, and soy sauce. The wine reduction sauce is the star of the show, adding depth and complexity to each bite.

Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s also incredibly versatile. With a few variations to the recipe, you can create a variety of dishes such as seared duck breast, roasted duck legs in red wine reduction, or even a braised duck leg with figs and red cabbage. The choices are endless!

This recipe is also easy to make thanks to the straightforward instructions provided below. Impress your guests with minimal effort and maximum flavor. And don’t forget about the leftovers! This meal tastes even better the next day, making it a great option for meal prepping or busy weeknight dinners.

In conclusion, this Duck in Red Wine recipe is sure to wow your taste buds and leave you craving more. The combination of succulent duck breasts and full-bodied red wine reduction will leave you feeling satisfied and fulfilled after every bite. Give it a try and discover why this dish has become a go-to favorite for foodies around the world!

Ingredient List

 Indulge in the rich and bold flavors of duck in red wine.
Indulge in the rich and bold flavors of duck in red wine.

Here is a list of all the ingredients that you will need to cook this sumptuous duck in red wine recipe:

For the Seared Duck Breast Red Wine Sauce:

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1/4 cup of dry red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Roast Duck Legs with Red Wine Sauce Recipe:

  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 cups of full-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of five spice powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Wine Reduction:

  • 2 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied dry red wine such as a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Side Dish:

  • Roasted potatoes, peppers and figs with fresh rosemary
  • Braised red cabbage with cherry sauce
  • Duck confit with thyme and orange sauce
  • Red currant duck jus

The Recipe How-To

 This is a classic French dish that is sure to impress your guests.
This is a classic French dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Preparing the Duck
Step 1: Begin with searing the duck breasts

  • Score the fatty side of the duck breast in a cross-hatch pattern.
  • Rub both sides of the breasts evenly with salt and black pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan over high heat until it begins to smoke.
  • Place the duck breasts, fat side down, in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: Roast the duck breasts or legs

This recipe offers two ways to cook the duck – you can choose based on your preference, time, or ingredients availability.

Option A – Roast Duck Breasts

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (360°F).
  • Transfer the seared duck breasts into an ovenproof dish.
  • Add fresh thyme sprigs and pour ¼ cup of dry red wine or Pinot Noir into the dish.
  • Roast in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes if you prefer medium-rare or 8-10 minutes for medium.

Option B – Roast Duck Legs in Red Wine

  • Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F).
  • Arrange four duck legs in an ovenproof casserole dish with sides at least 10cm high.
  • Add chopped garlic cloves, finely chopped rosemary, orange peel strips, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and five spice powder.
  • Pour enough red wine (approx. 2 cups) to cover half of the duck legs.
  • Add boiling water to cover up to three-quarters of the way up the duck legs.
  • Bring it on a medium heat until simmering.
  • Cover tightly with foil and place into the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and starting to loosen from the bone.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool. Once cool, drain off the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a large bowl.

Making the Wine Sauce
Step 3: Making the wine reduction

  • To make the red wine sauce, pour the strained cooking liquid from above into a pot.
  • Add chicken stock, orange juice, and any remaining red wine to the pot.
  • Bring it to a gentle boil over low heat and reduce until it thickens to your desired consistency.

Step 4: Making fruity topping

  • Dice the orange (1/2 cup) and figs (1/2 cup).
  • In a separate pan, heat up butter over medium heat.
  • Add orange juice and mix with figs
  • Cook mixture over low heat for approx 10 minutes.

Assembly and Serving
Step 5: Slicing and serving

  • Slice the duck breasts or legs in thick slanting pieces

Substitutions and Variations

 The wine sauce is decadent and pairs perfectly with the tender duck meat.
The wine sauce is decadent and pairs perfectly with the tender duck meat.

If you don’t have all of the ingredients for this recipe or you’d like to try something different, there are a few substitutions and variations you can make. For example, instead of duck breasts, you could use chicken thighs or pork chops for a similar dish. However, keep in mind that the cooking time will vary.

If you’re not a fan of red wine, you can also use a white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. This will give the dish a lighter flavor and color. You can also try using a different type of red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for a richer and deeper taste.

For those who prefer not to drink alcohol, just substitute the wine with chicken stock. Although the flavor won’t be quite the same, your dish will still be very tasty.

If you want to make it a bit sweeter, add chopped figs while cooking in the sauce. Alternatively, serve the duck with a side of red cabbage or orange sauce for some sweetness.

Furthermore, if you want to try making braised duck legs rather than seared duck breast or roasted duck legs, substitute them with 4 duck legs and follow steps 2 and 3 from the recipe above. You can also choose to serve it with cherry sauce and red currant salad if desired.

Whichever variation or substitution you go with; remember while adjusting recipes is sometimes necessary, avoid overdoing it. Too many changes may lead to an unpalatable outcome!

Serving and Pairing

 This dish is perfect for a cozy dinner party or date night in.
This dish is perfect for a cozy dinner party or date night in.

One of the best things about this dish is that it pairs well with a variety of sides! I recommend serving seared duck breast with something starchy like roasted potatoes, or buttered egg noodles. The creamy texture and gentle flavor of mashed potatoes or sweet potato puree will also complement this rich, earthy and hearty meal brilliantly. For a fresher and zestier feel, pair it with sautéed greens such as spinach, arugula, or bok choy.

When it comes to wine pairing, the best option would be a full-bodied red wine to complement the flavors and aromas of the dish. A robust Pinot Noir, which pairs well with duck and has a bright fruitiness that blends seamlessly with the sauce’s acidity is highly recommended. You could also try any dry red wine that has a full body and high tannin content which will cut through the richness of the sauce without overwhelming the flavor of the duck.

In terms of garnish, a sprinkle of finely chopped chives would add an elegant green touch to brighten up this beautiful dish. Additionally, you can add some orange zest for some extra zing to the flavors.

Overall if you’re looking for an impressive main course to serve up at your next dinner party – this recipe ticks all the right boxes. With juicy duck breasts swimming in red wine sauce boasting complex flavors from soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fresh thyme, garlic cloves, five-spice powder and much more – Duck in Red Wine recipe will be sure to dazzle your taste buds and leave quite an impression on your guests.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Use a good quality red wine for maximum flavor.
Use a good quality red wine for maximum flavor.

If you’re planning on hosting a fancy dinner party or just want to cook and enjoy this delicious duck recipe at a later time, there are a few ways to make-ahead, store and reheat it to perfection.

You can prepare the red wine sauce up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Similarly, you can also marinate the duck breasts for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before searing them.

To store leftover roasted duck, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The wine reduction sauce can also be stored separately for up to 3 days.

If you need to reheat the duck, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the refrigerated duck on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with foil and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as it can dry out the meat.

For reheating the wine sauce, you should bring it to room temperature first before reheating it over low heat in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish. Whisk constantly until heated through.

With these helpful tips, you can now prepare this mouth-watering dish ahead of time without any stress and still impress your guests with the utmost deliciousness of flavors.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Don't skimp on the garlic, it adds depth and complexity to the dish.
Don’t skimp on the garlic, it adds depth and complexity to the dish.

To ensure your duck in red wine recipe turns out perfectly, follow these helpful tips:

First, be sure to properly season the duck breasts or legs with salt and black pepper before cooking. This will enhance the natural flavors of the meat and create a delicious crust.

Next, sear the duck in a hot skillet to create a crispy skin on the outside while keeping the meat tender and juicy on the inside.

When making the red wine sauce, choose a full-bodied wine that complements the rich flavor of the duck. A dry red wine such as Pinot Noir would be an excellent choice.

Once the wine sauce is made, be careful not to cook it for too long or over a high heat as this can cause it to become too thick or lose its flavor.

If you’re using fresh thyme, be sure to remove the stems before adding it to your recipe. Only use the leaves for maximum flavor.

For those who prefer less fat in their dishes, trim any excess fat from the duck before cooking. However, leaving some of the fat can add a lot of flavor and help keep the meat moist during cooking.

Lastly, if you want to add an extra touch of elegance to your dish, garnish with chopped chives or finely chopped orange zest before serving. This will give your duck in red wine an added burst of flavor and color.

With these tips in mind, you’ll surely impress your guests with a delicious and perfectly prepared duck in red wine dish.


As a sommelier, I have encountered numerous questions regarding wine as well as wine and food pairing. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about this particular Duck in Red Wine recipe.

What is the best red wine to cook with duck?

When it comes to pairing wine with duck, pinot noir is the perfect choice. The reason behind this is because both duck and pinot noir provide moderate intensity, making them a great match. Furthermore, the acidity of pinot noir is perfect for balancing out the rich flavors of duck. Plus, since fruit often pairs well with duck dishes, the fruity notes in the wine complements the flavors perfectly.

What wine to cook duck in?

As a sommelier, I have tasted and studied a plethora of wines, each with its own unique story to tell. Some of my favorite types of wine include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Barolo, Tuscan Reds like Chianti, Bandol and other Mourvèdre, Madiran and Marcillac, Beaujolais, and Late Harvest Riesling. Each of these wines has its own distinct characteristics and nuances that make them special and worthy of exploration. In this article, I will delve into the world of each of these wines, sharing their stories and offering suggestions for pairing them with delicious dishes.

What is the best thing to soak duck in?

For those looking to enhance the taste of duck and goose meat, soaking it in a salt and brown sugar brine can do wonders. By combining a litre of cold water with ¼ cup of coarse salt and ¼ cup of brown sugar, a perfect brine is formed. When the meat is soaked in the brine for 8 to 12 hours, the brine draws out much of the blood that is stored in the meat, resulting in improved color and taste.

What red wine is best for duck sauce?

When it comes to pairing wine with duck, Pinot Noir is a top choice. The sourness present in the wine perfectly complements the somewhat earthy taste of duck, and when combined with some spices in the dish, it brings out the subtle intricacies of the Pinot Noir.

What is the duck with wine called?

The origins of Cold Duck can be traced back to the late 1930s when a wine cellar owner in Detroit, Michigan named Harold Borgman blended champagne and sparkling burgundy in a unique way. This concoction eventually became known as Modern Cold Duck.

Why pour boiling water over duck?

When preparing a roasted duck, small holes are made on its skin and it is cooked at a high temperature to allow the fat to loosen up. On top of that, boiling water is added to the duck to retain its tenderness and protect against fat explosion. Once cooked, the duck has crispy skin and isn’t greasy at all.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, Duck in Red Wine Recipe is a dish that everyone should try at least once. With its combination of tender and flavorful duck meat, delicious red wine sauce, and aromatic herbs and spices, it truly is a feast for the senses.

Not only is this recipe easy to prepare, but it can also be customized to suit your preferences. You can substitute ingredients or add your own twist to make it even more special.

Moreover, the flavors of the duck and the wine sauce pair well with many different sides, making it perfect for any occasion. Serve it alongside roasted vegetables or potatoes for a hearty dinner, or complement it with a salad or fruit platter for a lighter meal.

Regardless of how you choose to serve it, Duck in Red Wine Recipe is sure to impress your guests and leave them asking for more. So go ahead and grab your ingredients, put on your apron, get cooking and enjoy this mouth-watering dish!

Duck in Red Wine

Duck in Red Wine Recipe

from nigella, courtesy of the NY Times.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Calories 350.3 kcal


  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 orange, juice of, of
  • 1 orange rind, cut into strips
  • 4 whole duck breasts, skin and fat removed
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced chives, for garnish


  • In a large freezer bag, combine wine, chili oil, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, orange juice and orange rind.
  • Mix well and add duck breasts.
  • Seal bag and mix again.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  • Remove duck from marinade and shake off excess liquid.
  • Heat and lightly oil a grill, ridged skillet or heavy flat skillet.
  • Cook duck breasts to taste, turning frequently, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If desired, cooked breasts may be wrapped in foil and held for 10 minutes until serving.
  • To serve, thinly slice breasts diagonally and arrange on a serving plate.
  • Pour any juices in pan or foil on top.
  • Garnish with chives, and serve.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 200gCalories: 350.3kcalCarbohydrates: 2.8gProtein: 39.7gFat: 17.4gSaturated Fat: 4.7gCholesterol: 217.6mgSodium: 330.7mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1.7g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Duck, Duck Breasts, Easy, Kosher, Meat, Poultry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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