Duck Breasts with Dulce de Leche Chile Sauce

The unconventional mix of orange juice, pureed dried chiles and the Latin American caramel dulce de leche makes a rich and spicy sauce for seared duck breasts. The recipe is from star chef Aarón Sánchez.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

Related Video

More Videos
How to Make a Roasting Rack


  • 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup dulce de leche
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Four 12-ounce Muscovy duck breast halves, excess fat removed and skin scored
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 chile de árbol
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus small sprigs for serving 

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large skillet, toast the ancho chiles over moderately high heat, turning, until fragrant and pliable, about 1 minute. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with 2 cups of hot water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.

  2. In a small saucepan, simmer the orange juice over moderately high heat until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the stock, dulce de leche, anchos, 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid and onethird of the garlic. Puree until smooth.

  3. Heat the large skillet. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet skin side down. Cook over moderate heat, spooning off the fat, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn the duck skin side up and add the árbol chile, thyme, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the lemon juice and the remaining garlic to the skillet. Cook, basting the duck occasionally, until medium within, about 8 minutes. Transfer the duck to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add the chile mixture and bring 
to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until just thickened, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the chopped cilantro. Discard the árbol chile and thyme; season the sauce with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the duck across the grain and serve with the sauce and cilantro sprigs.

Make Ahead

The chile puree can be refrigerated overnight.

Serve With

Sautéed spinach.

Suggested Pairing

Pair this duck dish with a lively, red-berried Spanish Mencía.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published May 2015

1031254 recipes/duck-breasts-dulce-de-leche-chile-sauce 2015-04-15T19:48:13+00:00 Aarón Sanchez weeknight-dinner|latin-american|6|8|easter|thanksgiving|christmas|staff-favorite may-2015 recipes,duck-breasts-dulce-de-leche-chile-sauce 1031254

Aggregate Rating value: 4

Review Count: 4

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: Bzube

Review Body: This is the most fabulous dish! A little time consuming but absolutely worth every minute! 

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-07-18

Author Name: Julia Heffelfinger

Review Body: You will lick your plate clean! This dulce de leche chile sauce is out of this world.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-08-12

Author Name: GhostAf

Review Body: I love your recipe. thanks! going to try soon.

Date Published: 2016-07-21

Author Name: kaela933

Review Body: I tried this and it was very moist and super delicious!!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-07-22

Author Name: Sharmeen

Review Body: I won't spend a bit for this kind of meat! Better go for something better than this. Duck meat is so overpriced!

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2016-07-18