Beer-Marinated Duck Breasts with Wild Rice Pilaf and Rutabaga Puree

Beer marinated duck breast

One does not normally think of beer in connection with duck but since I had the remains of a five liter mini keg of Newcastle Brown Ale I thought it worth investigating. The combination, it turns out, is not uncommon in Chinese cooking. But surprisingly I also found it at a Web site specializing in Italian fare from which I adapted this recipe. However, in place of the spinach in the original I served the duck with a wild rice pilaf and pureed rutabaga—recipes follow. Oh, and don’t forget a glass of the beer.


Note: to get dinner to come out at the same time, get the rice into the oven first, then put the rutabagas to boil, and finally cook the duck.


The Duck


2 duck breasts


Salt and pepper

Flour (rice flour for gluten-free)

Duck stock


Score the skin as indicated in the master recipe and immerse the breasts in beer. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to overnight. Remove from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook as in master recipe.

While the duck breasts are resting prepare the gravy. Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet (save for another use). Over medium heat stir in the flour and combine to make a roux. Cook gently for about 2 minutes then add ½ cup of beer. Deglaze the pan as the alcohol boils out of the beer. Stir about ½ cup of duck stock and bring to a boil to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add a bit more stock if needed to make a light gravy.

Wild Rice Pilaf


¾ cup wild rice

½ carrot

2 or 3 shallots

2 or 3 mushrooms

1 tablespoon duck fat or oil

1½ cups duck stock

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 325°F. Rinse the rice in cold water and set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Cut the carrot and shallots into brunoise, i.e. ⅛-inch (3 mm) cubes. Slice the mushrooms thinly.

Heat the duck fat in a heavy, oven-proof pot with a tightly-fitting lid. Sweat the carrots and shallots until soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Drain the rice and add to the pot along with the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and bake in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes. Season and fluff with a fork before serving.

Pureed Rutabaga


1 rutabaga

Duck fat or butter

Salt and pepper


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Peel and cube the rutabaga. Boil until pierced easily with a small knife, about 30 minutes. Drain, add about a tablespoon of the fat rendered from the cooking breasts, and mash smoothly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


One response to “Beer-Marinated Duck Breasts with Wild Rice Pilaf and Rutabaga Puree

  1. Conor Bofin January 23, 2012 at 16:15

    I love it! Newcastle Brown and duck. I can see that it would work well. The Chinese are less poe faced than us westerners when it comes to matching alcoholic drink with food. Often at bigger celebrations, whiskey or brandy can be served. I could see that getting totally out of hand pretty quickly if I tried it here.

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