Dish of duck breast with old fashioned gastrique and brussel sprouts
Jereme McFarland
Jereme McFarland

Duck Breast with Old Fashioned Gastrique and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Recipe by Jereme McFarland, Executive Chef at Bourbons Bistro

Want to really “wow” your guests at your next dinner party? This recipe will do the trick. With notes of Bourbon, orange, bitters and Luxardo cherries, the old fashioned gastrique will absolutely make the duck sing. We recommend pairing with an old fashioned cocktail…of course.


  • Old Fashioned Gastrique
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup of Kentucky Bourbon
  • ½ cup dark cherries in syrup (Luxardo “The Original Maraschino Cherries” are preferred)
  • 1-2 dashes angostura orange bitters
  • Duck Breast
  • 2 duck breasts (about 8 oz. each)
  • Caramelized Brussels Sprouts:
  • 3-4 cups of brussels sprouts
  • 4-6 oz of unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock or water


    Old Fashioned Gastrique
  1. Add the sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pan and cook, stirring over medium heat until the sugars caramelize. (Stainless is best)
  2. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and Bourbon. (Use caution as the Bourbon could flame up)
  3. When the caramelized sugar is dissolved add the dark cherries with the syrup.
  4. Continue to cook over low heat until the gastrique has thickened to a syrupy consistency.
  5. Add 1 or 2 shakes of orange bitters (very little is needed).
  6. Set the Gastrique aside to cool, ensuring it is not too thick. If too thick, thin the sauce with a little water.
  7. Duck Breast
  1. Pat the duck breast dry using paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the skin on the duck by running a knife down the skin side of the duck at 5mm intervals; then in the opposing direction creating a crosshatch pattern.
    This cut needs to be deep enough to cut the skin but shouldn’t cut into the meat below.
  2. Preheat a pan with 2-3 Tbsp of canola oil over medium high heat.
  3. Season the duck breast with salt and pepper.
  4. Pan sear the duck breast skin side down until it is crispy and golden brown.
    Flip the breast over and continue to cook until desired doneness is achieved turning occasionally if necessary.
  5. Set the duck breast aside to rest; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
    Keep the used pan and few tbsp of the rendered fat to reheat the sauce just before serving.
  6. Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
  1. Cut the ends off the brussels and slice them in half. Place the brussels sprouts cut side down in a room temperature sauté pan. Season them with salt and pepper to your liking.
  2. Add the cubes of butter to the sauté pan. Cook the brussels sprouts over medium high heat in the butter until caramelized and slightly charred.
    Add the vegetable stock (or water) and continue cooking until tender and cooked through.
  3. Plating and Presentation
  1. Place the brussels sprouts in the center of a dinner plate.
  2. Slice the duck breast and shingle them over the brussels sprouts.
  3. Using the same pan, the duck was cooked in; reheat the gastrique and spoon it over the duck breast and around the brussels sprouts.
  4. Sprinkle the orange zest on and around the entire dish.
  5. Using 3 orange segments per dish place them on top and in the center of the dish as a garnish.
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