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Duck in limoncello


  • 6 duck breast fillets, about 180g (7 oz) each

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 8 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

  • For the sauce:

  • 120g (5 oz) salted butter

  • 2 tbsp mixed peppercorns

  • 200ml (7 fl oz) limoncello

  • Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

  • 300ml (10½ fl oz) chicken stock

  • Salt and pepper


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark.

  • 2.

    Place the duck breasts in a large bowl and use your hands to rub in the olive oil with some salt and pepper.

  • 3.

    Place the oiled breasts on a hot griddle, skin-side down first, and seal for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a roasting tin and roast in the oven for about 8 minutes until crisp on the outside but pink in the middle.  Remove from oven and leave to rest for 1 minute before slicing each breast on the diagonal into six.

  • For the sauce::

  • 1.

    Melt half the butter in a large frying pan, add the peppercorns and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the limoncello with the lemon zest and juice and simmer until reduced by half.

  • 2.

    Add the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half again. Add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir with a wooden spoon until you create a creamy texture.

  • 3.

    Place the sliced duck in the pan with the sauce and continue to cook for 1 minute allowing the flavour of the limoncello to coat the meat. Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve immediately.

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