Barbary Duck Breasts with Blackberry Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Josceline Dimbleby’s Complete Cookbook

Josceline Dimbleby’s Complete Cookbook

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1997

  • About

The French Barbary duck is killed when it is older than a normal Aylesbury-type duck and has darker, more gamey-flavoured flesh. Autumn fruits such as apples, quince and, as in this recipe, blackberries go especially well with duck. Make sure your grill is really hot so that the duck flesh remains pink and tender while the outside browns darkly.


  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 Barbary duck breast fillets
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 450 g/1 lb blackberries
  • 25 g/1 oz caster sugar
  • 300 ml/½ pint unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons arrowroot or cornflour
  • sea salt
  • black pepper


Put the oyster sauce into a shallow dish and stir in the cayenne pepper. Then add the duck breast fillets, smear thoroughly with the oyster sauce and leave on one side.

Next make the sauce. Trim the spring onions and slice them across finely, using as much of the green part as possible. Put the blackberries into a saucepan with the caster sugar and apple juice. Bring up to bubbling and simmer in the open pan for 5 minutes until the blackberries are soft and the juices running. Stir in the sherry vinegar and remove from the heat. Put 1 tablespoon of water in a cup, add the arrowroot or cornflour, stir until smooth and then mix into the blackberries. Return to the heat, bring to the boil, and stir for about 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, adding the sliced spring onions about half way through. Remove from the heat and season with salt and black pepper. Keep in a warm place while you grill the duck breasts.

Heat the grill to its highest and grill the breasts on the flesh side for 4-5 minutes. Then turn and grill for another 3-5 minutes, until the skin is very dark brown. Put the fillets on a board and, using a very sharp knife, slice them thinly lengthways. Arrange the slices on heated serving plates and spoon the sauce next to them.