Lemon Habanero Duck

The Meal

Lemon Habanero Duck

This past Sunday, in honor of the final episode of Game of Thrones, we hosted a feast. There were many themed dishes, from meat pies and rattlesnake sausages to Sansa’s lemon cakes and a Northern blueberry pie.

I figured nothing could be more appropriate for such an event than a bit of wild game, and I happened to have one last very fat pintail in the freezer. When planning my menu the weather was warm and beautiful, so I went for something Dornish: duck roasted with lemons and coated with a lemon, honey, and habanero glaze. The result was sweet, tart, and spicy–really good stuff.

This is a relatively simple dish. I roasted the duck, but it would work equally well with skin-on duck breasts. Or, for that matter, goose, or any other wild game. Probably wouldn’t be half bad on chicken either, but that gaminess does add something to the dish.

Lemon Habanero Duck


  • 1 fat duck
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Salt + Pepper


Begin by juicing the lemons. You should end up with about 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.

The next step is to cook the duck. If you are roasting, coat it well inside and out with salt and pepper, prick the skin over the breasts, and stuff the cavity with the juiced lemons. Then roast at 450 until you reach an internal temperature of around 135. Wild ducks vary greatly in size, so it is hard to give strict guidelines for time, but something like 15-25 minutes will typically do it.

If you are cooking just the breasts, score the skin and lay them skin side down in a hot pan. Cook for around 2-3 minutes on the skin side and flip, cooking for around one minute on the other side. Then remove to rest while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, heat the lemon juice over medium-high heat. Add the honey, spices, and half the habanero (thinly sliced). If you want more heat, add more habanero. Half a habanero has a little kick, but not enough to knock anyone’s socks off.

Continue cooking the glaze, stirring regularly, until it thickens a bit. The bubbles in the pan will start to linger longer. When you get to this stage, remove from heat or at least turn it all the way down. You don’t want to cook out any more moisture. But, if you do, just sprinkle a bit more water into the pan and mix it in.

When the meat has rested and cooled a bit, you can brush the glaze on. You don’t want to do this when the meat is too hot or the glaze will just drip right off. Brush on the glaze, slice thinly, and serve. Perhaps with a nice Dornish red.

For our party I served it alongside duck fat roasted potatoes, homemade focaccia, and many goblets of wine.

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