Duck with Ginger and Honey Sauce – A Way To Live Your Life?

A couple of decades ago, a customer of mine said something that I have reflected upon over the years. He meant it as a complement and despite my being a little upset about it at the time, I have grown to accept that it was, and is, a good thing. What did he say? “I love dealing with Conor, he doesn’t know how to tell a lie. He is totally transparent.” The thought of being completely readable and open really didn’t appeal to the younger me. But, I am who I am and at this stage, I probably won’t try to make too many changes. I was put in mind of all this as I prepared my Duck with Ginger and Honey Sauce.

In the interest of transparency, here’s the ingredients list for this delicious dish.

Duck with ginger and honey sauce (1 of 10)


  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of quality honey
  • 5cm piece of root ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of corn flour (arrowroot) diluted in half a cup of water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 or so apricots to accompany
  • Rice to serve

Set the rice to cook, as this dish doesn’t take long and timing, like transparency, is everything. Dry fry the peppercorns until they start to turn a nice dark brown.

Dry fried Sichuan Peppercorns

These pack a lot of delicious flavour.


Don’t let them burn. Crush them to a fine powder. Cut slashes through the fat on the duck breasts. Rub the duck breasts with the peppercorn dust. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Half the apricots and remove the stones. Heat a griddle pan. Fry the apricots until they get nice and soft but not mushy. This takes practice and depends a lot on how ripe they are to start.

Fried apricots

Delicious fried apricots. The trick is to not turn them until they burn a little.

Peel and roughly chop the ginger. Add it, the cornflour mixture and the honey to a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.

Duck with ginger and honey sauce (3 of 10)

This thick white sauce will be delicious. Give it time to become transparent.

Heat a frying pan and fry the duck breasts, skin side down for about 5 minutes. Turn them and fry for a further 3 minutes. We don’t want to overcook the duck breasts.

Duck with Ginger and Honey Sauce (1 of 1)

When they look like this. Take them off the heat.

Let the breasts rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. While they are resting, your sauce should be clarifying and becoming transparent (just like this cook).

Duck with ginger and honey sauce (4 of 10)

The sauce becomes almost completely transparent. It is packed with sweet / hot flavour.

Using a sharp knife, slice the duck breasts.

Duck with ginger and honey sauce

The duck should be nice an pink on the interior.

Arrange the duck and rice on a plate. Spoon the translucent sauce over the duck.

Duck with ginger and honey sauce (9 of 10)

Clearly a delicious dish!

The tart apricots, numbing peppercorns, hot ginger and sweet honey work really well with the duck. This is clearly a tasty recipe. I don’t think I can be any clearer. I know you would see through me if I tried to lie.

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Latest comments
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen these ingredients together, it sounds delicious. Your duck is just perfect!
    And I can’t lie either, it can be an affliction at times!

  • That sauce looks amazing, no word of a lie… I can think of all sorts of other things I’d like to use it on. I might dial down the Sichuan a trifle, being wussy in the heat department, but you need the heat, I reckon, so maybe chilli instead. By the way, I used your butterflied lamb marinade on a beautiful rack of lamb the other day, and the Husband was reduced to grunting with pleasure, too busy stuffing his face and licking his fingers to speak like a civilised being.

  • My pun well has run dry this morning so I’ll content myself with saying … gorgeous flavours. Cooking apricots really brings out their flavour, they can be so disappointing raw.

      • Ha, I hear you. I made a blood orange gin a while back which (although it’s rather good in a champagne cocktail) tastes to my palate like marmalade taken neat. Cherries don’t hold their colour well, I’ve had similar problems with pickled cherries in the past. Your apricot brandy, however, sounds divine. Have a fabulous holiday. Lx

  • I must get my hands on some of those peppercorns. Lovely dish, and you were quite transparent in the presentation. It suits you!

  • You had me at Szechuan pepper, one of my very favourite ingredients. I’ve never thought to season duck breast with them, I’m definitely copying that idea. Sorry I won’t be able to wait for apricot season to try it out so I’ll do my own thing 🙂

  • ‘. . . . but I am who I am’ ! My mantra in the autumnal years of my life!! I’ll have to wait for apricots awhile, but have filed . . . yes, Conor , you always add to my learning as to how to ‘live my life’ and how do make it more gastronomically fun !! That, and the delightfully ‘doable’ recipes !!

  • 2 teaspoons of those numbing little bastards is too much for me, but I would like to try the combination.
    Very familiar with the transparency issue 🙂

  • PS love the transparent sauce

  • Nice.

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