Duck Breast with Marsala Sauce and Raspberries

Possible 4smallThe combination of fruit and duck is an often used classic, but to make it truly work and take your duck dish to the next level you need a good brown sauce base. The idea of creating a sauce often leaves many with trepidation, but it doesn’t have to be, the key to sucess is a good stock.

In this case I created a brown stock from the bones and giblets of the duck but if you don’t have duck bones chicken will do. So first lets make a brown stock. Remember once the stock or even the sauce is made it can be frozen for later use.

Brown Stock
1 litre Cold Water
700 g Duck /chicken Bones
1 packet Duck/chicken giblets
50 grams tomatoes
150 grams Carrots roughly chopped
150 grams onions roughly chopped
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1-2 bay leaves
8-10 black peppercorns
Mushroom trimmings (optional)*


  1. Preheat oven to 190 C ( fan assisted).
  2. Brown the bones and giblets in a wok in the olive oil, on a high heat and then transfer them to a roasting pan and into the oven on the top shelf.
  3. Now brown the carrots and onions in the wok , on high heat and add them to the bones you have roasting.
  4. Once the bones and vegetables are golden brown transfer them to large saucepan and cover with the cold water. Add the garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, mushroom trimmings* and peppercorns and bring to a slow simmer. Skim the stock to remove any impurities, turn down the heat and don’t allow the stock to boil.
  5. Cook for 45 minutes and then strain through a fine strainer. You should end up with about 800 ml stock.

Duck Breast with Marsala Sauce and Raspberries (serves 4)
20 grams plain flour
20 grams unsalted butter
600 ml Brown stock
2.5 Tbsp raspberry puree or seedless jam
3 Tbsp Marsala superiore
4 x 170 gram (6oz ) Duck breasts
1 punnet fresh raspberries

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan on a medium heat and stir in the flour to make the roux.
  2. Keep stirring and cook out for at least 4 minutes to lightly brown the roux before slowly beginning to add the brown stock.
  3. Add the stock a little at a time making sure you keep stirring the roux, to avoid lumps and prevent it from burning. Once all the stock is added stir in the raspberry puree and Marsala and turn the heat down.
  4. The sauce will be quite thin at this point so it needs to reduce down further on a low heat, but still stir from time to time to avoid burning.The sauce needs to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and be a nice dark rich brown like mine in the photo, then remove from the heat and reserve.
  5. Make a crisscross pattern on the duck fat to help the cooking process.
  6. Preheat your fan assited oven to 190 C (375 F).
  7. Place the duck breasts skin side down into a hot nonstick oven proof frying pan, you don’t need oil because there is enough fat in the skin of the duck.  Season the breasts with sea salt and black pepper.
  8. Sauté the breasts making sure they are brown on all sides and then transfer the frying pan into the oven on the middle shelf. Make sure the duck breasts are again skin down.
  9. Cook for 4 minutes and then turn the breasts and cook in the oven for another 5-6 minutes so the duck breasts are cooked medium. Remove from the pan and place on a warm plate to rest for 5 minutes.

To Serve
Make sure your sauce is hot and arrange your vegetables and potatoes on your warm dinner plate.  Spoon 3 dessert spoons of sauce (more if you wish) onto each plate and cut each duck breast diagonally in two. Place the duck breasts onto your sauce and decorate with 3-4 fresh raspberries.

Chefs Tips
I sometimes add mushroom trimmings* to brown stock to enrich the flavour and colour of the stock.
Any left over brown stock can be kept for up to a week or frozen. If you don’t have raspberry jam or readymade puree to hand you could make you own with fresh raspberries and a little sugar, and strain to remove the seeds. Remember you don’t want the raspberry puree too sweet as Marsala can also be sweet.
I have chosen to serve my duck breast with flat green beans, sauté potatoes (skin on sliced potatoes) blanched in boiling water and then cooked in duck fat and shallots poached in stock with thyme and then caramelised.

Is a fortified wine, that can be dry or sweet and is produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. I usually look for a dry Marsala superiore (which has been aged for at least 2 years) because you can’t make good sauce with bad wine. Besides being used in savoury Italian meat dishes Marsala is also used in zabaione.

Duck Breast with Marsala Sauce and Raspberries © Kevin Ashton 2022

No photographs, recipes or articles from my blogs can be reproduced or shared on WordPress or elsewhere without my written permission.

New Wave Dinner Plate
Special thanks to Villeroy and Boch for sending me this wonderful New Wave dinner plate to serve my food on.

20 thoughts on “Duck Breast with Marsala Sauce and Raspberries

  1. This looks so yummy! I have never cooked duck in all the years I’ve been cooking. Did a goose (husa) once, though, with Czech potato dumplings (knedlicky) and cabbage (Zeli) in the Moravian way. I do love goose. So I’ve have to dip my toes in and try this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Katelon and thanks for your kind words, they are appreciated. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in the US so I’m interested to hear how readily available duck is? Duck is fairly easy to cook as the fatty skin help to protect it and keep it moist. When I’m cooking duck breasts I try to cook them medium, rather than some chefs that prefer to cook them medium rare. Cooking them medium rare makes them harder to digest in my opinion.
      Roasting a whole duck on the other hand is cooked until it is thoroughly cooked and the skin crisp.
      Best Wishes
      Kevin 🙂


      1. Hi Kevin,

        I haven’t seen duck on menus. But I don’t eat at 5 star resaurants either. As a kid I had it at a country club where my Dad was in a tournament. Perhaps on the east coast or big cities it is served more.

        Take care, katelon

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jaya and you are exactly right. The point of serving meat with fruit goes back for centuries and is designed not just make wonderful contrasts of flavours and textures but help make meat easier to digest, particularly in the case of duck and other game such as venison or boar.
      Best Wishes
      Kevin 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Two obvious classics come to mind are duck with oranges (sauce Bigarade) and the more modern classic of cherries and cinnamon. You also see a few chefs serve duck breast with rhubarb these days but whatever the fruit I believe the dish needs a good brown sauce to bring out the best of a fruit and duck combination.
      Best Wishes
      Kevin 🙂


  2. Recently made my first (beef) stock, Kevin. I hadn’t realised it was so easy. Your brown stock sounds doable too. Delicious combination of stock, sauce and meat. ps. I’ve been making zabaione for decades. A recipe given me by an Italian lady. The mother of a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am often encouraging my online cookery students to make their own stock and then freeze any surplus in various sizes of plastic containers.

      I even freeze stock in an ice cube tray and then put the frozen stock cubes into a ziplock bag for when I just need a small amount.

      I’d love to hear more about your Zabaione recipe. 🙂


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