Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney Recipe


Ming Tsai’s Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney

I had a chance to chat with Asian superstar chef Ming Tsai a few weeks ago – andI’m too lame to learn how to turn our recorded phone convo (.wav format) into a podcast. Too busy too figure it out too! Plus, I’m a highly VISUAL person (can you tell?) and anything auditory does. not. compute.

Thanks to Lenny, the podcast with Chef Ming Tsai is up!


Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney Recipe

My parents are Buddhists but they’ve lived here in the United States since 1967 and have celebrated Christmas with food and presents every single year. When my brother and I were little, we believed in Santa Claus until the day I found my mother’s secret hiding place for gifts. I didn’t let on that I knew about the stash, as I totally enjoyed sneaking into the walk-in closet and wading my way through the piles of clothes, blankets and luggage to get to the booty in the back.

I’d just stare at the blonde Cabbage Patch Kid and Barbie doll convertible, caressing the box and counting down the days til Christmas Eve. So yeah, Christmas more about new toys back then and not so much the religious stuff.

On the other hand, my in-laws take Christmas seriously, and spend much of the month of December decking out the house with holiday lights and trinkets. You couldn’t sneeze without knocking over an angel or shorting out the dancing Santa.

At our home, I’d like to think we have a nice blend of traditions. For the past six years, we’ve hosted Christmukkah, as our good friends are Jewish and all but the Chinese take-out places are closed! My in-laws also come down to be with the family, and each time they make the trip they stuff an entire suitcase with more holiday decorations to hand down. I love it when Scott would show the boys the ornaments that were so carefully preserved and say, “I made this wooden reindeer in first grade!”

I got a chance to chat with celebrity Chef Ming Tsai and ask him about his holiday plans – he’s preparing a slow roasted lamb for his family and gave me some tips for my Christmukkah meal. I’m making Ming’s Seared Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney from his self-published book called Ming’s Master Recipes ( I tested the recipe a couple of weeks ago and holy holiday cheer, it was fabulous!

Ming says that the key to searing duck breast is to render, or melt away the fat first. This savory, delicious fat is used to cook the duck and also saute the potatoes. The Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney is the perfect blend of Ming’s signature east and west cooking.

Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney Recipe

Ming Tsai’s Seared Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney Recipe

Adapted from Ming’s Master Recipes by Ming Tsai

serves 4

4 duck breasts, fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-4 Yukon gold potatoes, either boiled or baked skin on 45 minutes at 350F
Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney (recipe below)

Use a sharp knife to score the skin on the duck breast several times, making 3-5 slashes on the diagonal then rotating knife to slash the other way, to make a slanted checkerboard of sorts. Score all the way through the fat, but take care not to cut through to the meat.

Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a large frying pan and then heat the frying pan on low heat. As the pan heats up, the fat will begin melting (rendering). Let fry until the skin is brown and crispy, about 7-10 minutes. Turn the heat to high and flip the duck meat side down. Fry for 3-5 minutes for medium rare. Flip the duck breasts again and sear for 3-5 minutes to re-crisp the skin. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Transfer to a plate, meat side down and let rest. In the same pan, with the luscious duck fat, turn the heat to high and add the potato slices.Serve with Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney.

For the Sweet and Sour Cranberry Chutney
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cranberries, sugar and the rice vinegar. Simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. When cool, transfer to container and cover, store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Comments 22

  1. finsbigfan

    OMG That looks sooooo good. Love duck and have never tried to make it myself. Looks like I need to find me some quackin’ good duck to try this recipe. Cranberry chutney–all I can say is YES (arm pump and ass jiggle)

  2. Janet

    Oh, please, please, please, come to my house and make this for me tonight! I haven’t had duck in 10 years!! It looks divine!

  3. soulchocolate

    This looks so amazing!!!!! Oh wow the sauce is beautiful and i imagine the wonderful explosion of taste in my mouth! Next up on my to-do list. Thanks for this excellent post, Jaden.

  4. Holly

    I am soooo jealous you got to talk to Ming Tsai! I used to watch him all the time on East Meets West! LUCKY!!

  5. rhesuspieces00

    I could be walking down the street and run into Bill Clinton, Anne Hathaway, or Johnny Cash risen from the dead and strike up a conversation and be totally chill about it, but I think if I met Ming Tsai, I’d be all, “ZOMG BLUE GINGER EVERY RECIPE DELICIOUS WATCHED EVERY EPISODE LOLZ OMG FANBOI 😥 😥 cry:”

  6. GCS

    My husband has been requesting goose, I bet the chutney would be good with goose too. Yum. Now I just have to find a goose.

  7. Chez Us

    Jaden, did you get a chance to chat with my other half about the podcast? Really ask away, this is our job (the real bread and butter). On another note, can’t wait to try out this dish. I have some duck waiting for me in my sister’s freezer and would love a new way to make it – thanks for a great sounding recipe!

    I related to your ho ho story – same thing happened to me! 😉

  8. Luna Pier Cook

    Up here in the cold and frigid tundra that is Michigan, we have plenty of duck (and goose) hunting, farms of beautiful white potatoes and miles of green beans, along with a burgeoning cranberry industry. This looks like a Michigan dish to me!

  9. Kim

    Oh wow! I’m incredibly jealous of the fact that you met Ming Tsai! That guy is awesome. And I sympathize with you about the video game noises. When I lived with my family, my little brother (Fathead) absolutely HAD to have the volume all the way up. I’ve definitely hidden some games from Fathead for sanity’s sake.

  10. Big Boys Oven

    OMG! you meet up Ming Tsai, this is awesome . . . (tell him I had been keeping his books on my bookshelf)…lol! I love this east and west dishes creations. The duck breast look so moist and well glazed too. Just fantastic!

  11. Judy in SATX

    I have two duck breasts defrosting and fresh cranberries. We’ll have this for Christmas Eve!

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