Although I have made duck breast fillet before, I had never posted the recipe on my blog. This must change, so here is the recipe for duck breast fillet from the sous vide with red port sauce and red beets. As a variation, the red beets can be alternated with white beets. This gives more color variation.

Ingredients (2 persons)

Ingredients for duck breast
  • 1 duck breast fillet
  • 250 ml. veal stock
  • 300 ml. port
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 5-spices powder
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • pepper if necessary salt
  • 1 onion

Preparing duck

Make squares in the fat of the duck breast with a knife. Avoid cutting into the meat. By notching the fat, you ensure that the fat melts faster. Sprinkle the greasy side with salt.

Notching duck breast

Fry the duck in a skillet over medium heat, without butter. Make sure the fat side is on the bottom of the pan so that the fat melts. If the heat is too low, the fat will not melt enough. In case of high heat, make sure that the duck does not burn. The skin should turn a beautiful golden brown.

Duck breast in hot pan to be fried
Skin down in dry frying pan
Briefly sear the breast for the sous vide
Crispy fried duck skin

Sprinkle the 5-spices herbs over the meat, just before turning the duck. Because the fat has melted, the meat can fry nicely in the fat. The meat should only be cooked brown on the outside. Don’t bake it for too long.

Remove the duck from the pan and let the meat cool. Do not throw away the fat, this fat is used for the red port sauce.

Duck breast with five spices

Cut the duck into an elongated piece. The remains of the duck are used for the red port sauce. Make sure the duck is cold and vacuum the duck.

Duck breast fillet cut into rectangle.
Duck cut rectangular

Make sure the sous vide is set to 57 ℃ and when the water is up to temperature, put the duck in the water and let it cook for 4 hours.

Preparing red port sauce

Put the red port in a pan together with the stock, peppercorns and thyme and bring to the boil. Let it reduce for about 3/4 part. This can be put away so that it cools down, is not necessary.

Red port with thyme
Red port with stock and thyme
Boiling down red port
Boiled red port with stock and thyme.

Cut an onion into pieces and fry it together with the cut pieces of duck in some of the fat released from the duck breast. When the onion starts to become slightly translucent, pour the reduced port / stock into the meat and bring to the boil.

Preparing of red port sauce

Pour the balsamic vinegar into the sauce and stir well.

balsamic vinegar with the sauce

Let it boil and reduce. Usually I have it reduced by about 50%. Remove the meat from the sauce and pour the sauce through a very fine sieve. Keep the sauce warm. Optionally, a knob of butter can be stirred into the red port sauce so that the whole is slightly creamier and more thickened. I hardly ever do this. Season with a little salt / pepper if necessary.


Remove the duck from the sous vide and from the vacuum seal bag and pat the duck dry. Fry the duck briefly in some ghee (clarified butter). Do not do this for more than 40 seconds per side.

Crispy fried duck

The moisture from the vacuum bag can be used for the sauce. Stir this through the warm red port sauce.

Red port sauce

Cut the meat in half into two oblong slices and place on a preheated plate skin side up. Serve red beets with this. At the table, pour the red port sauce next to the duck.

Duck with red beets
Duck with 5spices

Add a Pinot noir, a Syrah or possibly a Malbec.