Four-Spice Duck Breasts with Carrots


People think duck is intimidating to cook, but this recipe is very simple. To make it even easier, substitute five-spice powder for the coriander, cinnamon, star anise, and cumin.

Four-Spice Duck Breasts with Carrots
Photo: © Dave Lauridsen
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs



  • 2 pounds medium carrots, preferably mixed colors, halved lengthwise

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, finely crushed

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper


  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 star anise pod

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

  • Four 10-ounce Muscovy duck breast halves, excess fat removed and skin scored

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper


Prepare the Carrots

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the carrots with the olive oil, coriander and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 25 minutes, until crisp-tender; keep warm. Leave the oven on.

Prepare the Duck

  1. In a skillet, toast the coriander, cinnamon, star anise and cumin over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer the spices to a grinder and let cool, then grind to a powder.

  2. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and rub all over with the spice mix. Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Add the duck, skin side down. Cook over moderate heat, spooning off the fat, until golden and just crisp, about 7 minutes. Turn the duck skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the duck for about 7 minutes, until medium-rare within. Transfer the duck breasts to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice crosswise and serve with the carrots.

Make Ahead

The carrots can be roasted up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Serve warm or at room temperature

Suggested Pairing

Try the dish with a Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged in new-oak barrels, which adds a spiced flavor.

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