Crispy Duck with Blackberry Gastrique, Roasted Pearl Onions, and Israeli Cous-Cous Recipe

Reduced blackberries and roasted pearl onions go perfectly with crisp duck breast.


Fatty, rich duck breast is balanced by a sweet and tart reduction of blackberries and red wine. Alongside Israeli cous-cous and roasted pearl onions, the duck makes for an elegant and satisfying dinner.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 12 pearl or cipollini onions, ends trimmed, skins removed

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine, such as cabernet

  • 2/3 cup fresh blackberries

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

  • 4 skin-on duck breast halves

  • 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Toss onions and olive oil in medium bowl to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer onions to rimmed baking sheet and roast until a knife tips slips easily in and out of the onion, about 35 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook without stirring until the liquid reaches a light blond caramel color, 5-8 minutes, swirling gently to help mixture cook evenly. Add red wine vinegar all at once (mixture will boil very rapidly). Continue to cook until sugar is re-dissolved, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add wine to pan and reduce until slightly syrupy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add blackberries and thyme and cook until blackberries have broken down slightly and mixture is dark red with the texture of light maple syrup. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. For the duck: Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Gently place duck breasts in pan skin-side down and press down firmly with spatula to ensure good contact between skin and pan. Cook until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, flip breasts and cook on second side until thickest part of breast registers 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer for medium, about 3 minutes longer, or 140 degrees for medium-well, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer duck breasts skin-side-up to large plate, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest 3-5 minutes. Rewarm gastrique over low heat if necessary. Slice duck and serve with cous-cous, onions, and gastrique.

Special equipment

Sauté pan, medium saucepan, rimmed baking sheet

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
696 Calories
31g Fat
40g Carbs
61g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 696
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 326mg 109%
Sodium 836mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 61g
Vitamin C 16mg 81%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 141mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)