Instant Pot Duck Breast (from frozen) with Baby King Oyster Mushrooms

Duck Breast with Baby King Oyster Mushrooms

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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    Duck Breast with Red Currant Sauce
  • 2 duck breasts, frozen
  • 1 cup frozen red currants
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp roasted garlic jelly
  • 1/2 tsp salt, then more to taste
  • Mushrooms
  • 11 oz baby king oyster mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp red miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • Salt, to taste


Pour the port, broth, and currants into the bottom of the instant pot. Add the rack into the pot, then place the duck breasts, skin side up, on the rack and add 1/2 tsp salt. Cook on Poultry setting under pressure for 23 minute (resulted in doneness of medium-well). Release the steam, take out the duck breast, score the skin and sprinkle with salt and sear on a medium-high heat pan until the skin has browned. Add the garlic for the mushrooms to the pan into the rendered duck fat. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the mushrooms and some salt. Stir regularly, until the mushrooms have browned and started to soften. Then add the brandy and cook down. Mix the miso paste with the water, then add to the pan with the sugar, and cook until almost all the liquid is cooked out.

And now for the details…

I was at a loss for what to make for dinner this past Sunday afternoon and decided to raid our freezer to see what I could find. I had some frozen duck breast tucked into the freezer and thought “sure, why not?”

I assumed I would be able to find some kind of recipe online for an Instant Pot duck breast cooked from frozen, but all I could find was a recipe for a stew. It probably would have been good, but I was craving duck breast on it’s own, with that nice crispy skin… a little salty, a little fatty, mmmmmmmm…. *ahem* Anyhow, since I could not find a recipe… I made one up ­čśŤ

Now, I do say from frozen for the duck breast, but I did need to let them thaw just a little, since they had those soft, thin pieces in the package meant to absorb liquid; which were frozen solid onto the meat. I let it defrost just enough to be able to peel them off without ending up with a bunch of frozen plastic pieces adhered to my bird. When it made it to the pot, though, it was still pretty much rock-hard with the exception of a thin layer on the exterior (you can actually see some ice still on the meat in the photo!)

Place the breasts on the rack in the pot, skin side up, to keep it out of the liquid. Under the meat goes the port, broth and currants. Plus, of course, I sprinkled a bit of salt on top. Make sure your pot lid is set to “Sealing”, and then let it cook on “poultry” setting for about 23 minutes. This resulted in a doneness level of about medium-well. You could probably adjust to a little less or a little more if you would prefer a different level of doneness. If you are able to get the duck out of the package while it’s still frozen all the way through, I would add on a couple minutes.

While the duck is cooking, we can start to prepare the mushrooms. I found these baby king oyster mushrooms at T&T, our asian supermarket, where I went shopping with my husband and in-laws after we went for dim sum earlier that morning. As you know, I enjoy not just cooking and eating, but also shopping for ingredients. I love shopping at T&T, since the ingredient options are often quite different than the “standard western” grocery options. And I really love going there with my in-laws, since I will get all kinds of suggestions and advice from them on produce I am unfamiliar with, like whether the produce is is in good shape, if it is in season, or suggestions for different produce I would not know to take home. My husband finds these shopping trips amusingly frustrating with the three of us, since we tend to scatter and reform, which my husband, of course, refers to as “herding cats”. Mama and papa know that I LOVE mushrooms, particularly shimeji and king oyster, and brought over the baby king oysters. I was really excited to cook these. They looked so good; plump little morsels, ready to be fried up for dinner! Even though they looked fairly clean in the package, papa suggested I wash them and trim the ends anyhow, and so I did.

Attempting to maintain a pseudo-asian flavour for the mushrooms, I decided to fry them up and glaze them with some miso. If you cook your duck breast first, you can reserve the rendered duck fat (see below for more details) and cook the mushrooms in that after you’ve fried the duck breasts. For me, I happened to have some rendered goose fat in the fridge from foie gras I had made a few weeks before, so I melted some of that in the pan, and then started to saut├ę my mushrooms and garlic.

Add a pinch of salt to the pan and saut├ę the mushrooms and garlic. This will seem like a counterintuitive thing for me to say: but don’t add too much salt. The miso has some saltiness to it, and it is better to taste test and add a bit more towards the end than end up with too much salt. Cook the mushrooms until they start to soften and get patches of golden brown. Once that happens, add the brandy and allow it to cook down until there is almost no liquid left in the pan, stirring regularly.

While the brandy is cooking down, add the miso to the hot water and mix until the miso is mostly dissolved. Add the mixture to your pan, and sprinkle with the sugar, and again stir regularly while cooking down the liquid until a smooth glossy finish coats your mushrooms, and there is little to no liquid in the pan.

By now, the duck should be done. Allow the pressure to release from your instant pot, and open to reveal your beautifully cooked duck breast. Oh. Wait. Not so beautiful yet. The skin is all soggy looking and it appears as if the breast as been boiled. Ew.

We can fix that right quick. Remove the breasts from the pot, reserving the liquid, and score the skin in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the skin with salt, and then place in a dry pan at just below high heat. You may want to tilt and hold the meat in a few directions on the pan to crisp up the skin on all sides.

As you cook the skin and it starts crisping to a nice golden brown, it will be releasing a whole heck of a lot of fat. This fat can be used to cook your mushrooms, or you can pour it into a Tupperware and store it in the fridge to use as an olive oil or butter replacement in another dish later on.

Once the skin has crisped to your desired level of doneness, remove the breasts from the pan and let them rest to the side. Pour the fat from the pan into a container of choice, then pour the liquid from the instant pot (you almost forgot about that, didn’t you?) into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high, and add the garlic jelly, stirring to dissolve the jelly in the liquid. Allow the liquid to reduce by about half, and then strain to remove the pips and skin from the currants. Then, slice the duck breasts across the grain into nice, moist (yes, I used the descriptor moist) slices, and spoon the sauce on top. Serve with mushrooms and enjoy!

Happy eating.

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