Duck in blackberry sauce: Pato a la zarzamora

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

This recipe is adapted from the Hacienda de los Morales, one of Mexico City’s oldest and most beloved restaurants. Use thawed frozen berries if fresh ones are unavailable.


For sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau (or, in Mexico, Controy)
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cup blackberries
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth

For duck:

  • 4 duck breast halves, about 5-6 ounces each
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the sugar and stir until it becomes a caramel color. Very carefully add the Cointreau and vinegar, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, to completely dissolve the caramel. Add the berries and broth, and reduce to 1 cup. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead, refrigerated, covered, and reheated.

For the duck: Preheat the oven to 450o F. Score the duck breasts through the skin, being careful not to pierce the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet and cook the duck breast, skin side down, until browned, 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Place the duck breasts in the oven and cook to desired doneness.

Heat the sauce and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, until melted. Taste and add salt and pepper. Slice duck breast halves and fan out on 4 plates. Spoon sauce over duck slices or, for a more modern presentation, spoon sauce onto plates first, then place slices of duck on sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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Published or Updated on: March 10, 2010 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2010
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