British Duck Breast with Roasted Plums, Ginger and Szechuan Pepper


This recipe first appeared on my blog and was such a hit, I decided to enter it in Yumbles' British Food Fortnight recipe contest. I hope you enjoy it as much as me! Ripe, juicy plums are roasted alongside British duck breast to bring both sharp acidity that cuts through the fat, and a sweetness that accentuates the rich meat. Duck nearly always falls prey to the Asian treatment, as it takes on those flavours so well, but here I have taken a few subtle elements to create something a little more refined.

Ginger goes particularly well with plums so, using that as a starting point, I have added a hint of bay (a hugely underused flavour) from the wonderful bay trees in my garden along with the fiery edge of Szechuan peppercorns. If you aren’t familiar with Szechuan pepper, it has the effect of numbing the tongue rather than filling the mouth with the burning heat of chilli. It also carries with it a touch of sweetness that rounds off this elegant dish perfectly.

Duck is often an underused meat at home with many people simply not knowing how to cook it. I really would encourage everyone to give it a try as it is a beautiful meat that is rich and full of flavour, as well as being extremely nutritious, with high levels of protein, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc, potassium, magnesium and iron. Duck is generally available all year round and good British breeds to look out for include Goosenargh, Aylesbury and Gressingham which all have plump, succulent flesh with a good flavour. Make sure that you also keep an eye out for wild duck which starts to come into season from September and the breed you are most likely to find is mallard.

As with all meat, try to buy the best quality that you can afford and from a source that you trust and where the animals have been ethically treated. Primal Meats is an fantastic online meat store which provides a variety of delicious meats including duck!

I like to cook my duck so that it is slightly pink. If you prefer more well done then leave it on the oven for a few minutes longer and if you prefer a bit more pink then a few minutes less.

Duck breast with roasted plums, ginger and Szechuan pepper 

Servings: 2

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 duck breasts
  • 6 ripe plums, halved
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 inches ginger, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • Flaked sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Rub a little salt and Szechuan pepper over the skin of the duck.

3. Place the duck skin down in the frying pan over a medium heat.Press down on the duck to keep all that lovely fat in contact with the pan.

4. Cook for about 5 minutes, with a brief turn to sear the underside.

5. Place the duck breasts in a roasting dish, with the ginger and bay leaf.

6. Add the plums to the roasting, cut side up.

7. Season all with a touch more salt and the rest of the Szechuan pepper.

8. Roast for 20 minutes until the duck is slightly pink (adjust according to taste).

9. When ready, set aside to rest for a minutes.

10. Slice the breasts and serve with the plums and the pan juices. A raw spinach leaf salad would go particularly well with this dish. 

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