The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Easy chic recipes: Duck breasts roasted on a bed of apricots

Photo: Duck breasts in apricot sauce

Photo: Duck breasts in apricot sauce

We are lucky to know a few people who regularly travel outside our county. Jocelyn and Miles to France and Tessa and Colin to Cornwall and Belgium. J and M bring back fresh garlic, Lesieur mayonnaise (thank you Amelee!), garlic granules (these are much stronger and better than the ones available in the UK. They also will buy wine and tobacco. Real contraband. T and C visit Cornwall every month and bring back superb spicy beef sausages and fat duck breasts from Trago Mills. Cornish delights that they yearn for from their small East Anglian village and now we long for them too. Once a year they visit that notorous ‘Tobacco Road’ just over the border in Belgium and return with packs of tobacco that tastes so sweet.

We usually cure and smoke the duck breast bounty. They are great sliced and flash fried to fill naughty waist expanding baguettes. Coupled with home grown salad leaves and a good oil and vinegar dressing, this is a treat lunch to die for. They also are handy for an off the cuff starter, just a few slices with some salad leaves and warm crusty bread on the side.

This month we are freezer trawling. I found duck breasts in my nets on Saturday.
“Let’s not get a joint for roasting on Sunday. It would be interesting to give these the Apricot Treatment.”

This method is the easiest, most delicious of our simple recipes. We often find duck legs on offer and have posted the original recipe here. Duck breasts are superb roasted on fresh plums so we thought we’d try combining duck breasts with apricots. They were delicious and tasted as if Danny had added new special ingredients to the sauce. In fact he hadn’t even checked the duck leg recipe and just used the tinned apricots. The apricot sauce with added duck juice and fat was superb, magically rich and light. Despite the photo, ideally serve with green beans or garden peas and mini roast potatoes or mashed potatoes

Easy chic recipes: Duck breasts roasted on a bed of apricots


  • Two duck breasts
  • Small tin of apricot halves in juice (not syrup)
  • Seasoning


Preheat oven to 220c (200c fan). Cook for fifteen minutes and then reduce to 180c (160c fan) for 45-55 mins (rest for 10 minutes in a warm place)

  1. Select a small ovenproof dish that will hold the apricot halves and the duck breasts snugly.
  2. Open the tin of apricot halves and pour them into the oven proof dish. Arrange them so that they are just one layer deep.
  3. Place the duck breasts on top of the apricots with skin side up so that they will brown.
  4. Put the dish in the centre of the oven to roast for 15 mins 220c (200c fan) and then for 45-55 mins at 180c (160c fan). If you have svelte duck breast they may only need 35 minutes, if you have very chunky ones they might need an hour. So check them after 30 minutes.
  5. When the breasts are browned and tender set them aside in a warm place whilst you prepare your green vegetables and liquidise the sauce with a stick blender.

  Leave a reply


  1. Silverleaf

    Tried this tonight with half a can of Sainsbury’s cheapo peaches in juice. It turned out very well, thanks!

    I didn’t whizz the sauce, just mushed it up a bit because I couldn’t be bothered to get the food processor out and wash it afterwards. And I removed as much of the fat as I could, because I served it with potatoes roasted in duck fat (added some garlic and cinnamon the the potatoes as well).

    The skin on the duck didn’t crisp so I popped it under the grill while I reduced the sauce.

    Definitely one I’ll be doing again!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Veronica

    Thanks for the feedback.

    We whizz the fat into the sauce (we also do this when we use fresh plums) it gives the sauce a silkiness and it doesn’t taste fatty.

    The tinned apricot sauce is tangy but balances the flavour of the duck well. So perhaps tinned apricots are perfect for this recipe rather than fresh/frozen. Our recipe with fresh eating plums works well, but they do not have such a distinct taste as apricots.

  3. Veronica

    We had this last night with our frozen apricots (picked when ripe in June, halved, stoned, and frozen). I think fresh ones have more flavour than tinned, because the very tangy sauce completely overwhelmed the duck! You don’t mention de-fatting the sauce in your recipe, but we had lots of fat, so we separated it out before whizzing the sauce, which turned out fluorescent orange 🙂

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello S.O.L.

    It’s such an easy delicious recipe if you are feeling lazy but in need of a treat.

    Hello Veronica

    I’d love to hear how it turns out with fresh apricots.

    Hi CV

    I hope that this works for you!

    Hi Gemma

    We have been amazed how good the slow cooker is. We use it all the time.

    Hello Heidi

    Great that you are enjoying the site.

    Thank you so much for posting your recipe for homemade laundry liquid. I really appreciate this.

    Hi S.O.L.

    I don’t know what hapened there.

    Hi DMC

    Thanks for the tip.

    Hello KarenO

    That’s a handy tip too. Thank you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,247,368 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar