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Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breasts with Plum Poblano Sauce by Melissa Cookston

Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breasts with Plum Poblano Sauce

 **Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breasts with Plum Poblano Sauce Recipe**

Indulge in the rich and spicy flavors of Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breasts paired with a sweet and tangy Plum Poblano Sauce, a perfect fusion of flavors grilled on the Arteflame.

Cooked on the Arteflame Grill

Serves: 4


For the Duck Breasts:

  • 4 Duck Breasts
  • 2 TBS Sichuan Peppercorns, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Plum Poblano Sauce:

  • 1.5 TBS sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, seeded, roasted, and diced
  • 1/2 TBS fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 TBS honey
  • 6 plums, peeled, pitted, and quartered


  1. Prepare the Duck Breasts:

    • Toast the Sichuan peppercorns; mix with kosher salt and black pepper in a mortar. Lightly crack the peppercorns.
    • Score the skin of the duck breasts in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Generously season both sides of the duck breasts. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook the Duck Breasts:

    • Place the duck breasts on a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat on the Arteflame grill. Cook for 20 minutes or until the fat renders out. Flip and cook until the meat side is browned, about 3-4 minutes.
    • As the internal temperature reaches 115-120 degrees, move to a hotter part of the griddle, skin side down. Cook until the internal temperature is 130 degrees and the skin is crispy.
    • Remove and cover lightly with foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice.
  3. Make the Plum Poblano Sauce:

    • In a saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until softened.
    • Add poblano pepper, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and honey. Cook until almost bubbly, about 3 minutes.
    • Add plums and cook until they begin to break down, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve:

    • Serve the sliced duck breasts topped with the Plum Poblano Sauce.

This Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breast with Plum Poblano Sauce recipe showcases the unique flavors of Sichuan peppercorns and the richness of duck, perfectly complemented by the sweet and spicy sauce.


Have you ever used Sichuan Peppercorns?  If not, I’m here to tell you they need to be on your list!  I love them, and this Sichuan Peppercorn Duck Breast with Plum Poblano Sauce recipe really shows them off!  Sichuan peppercorns (also spelled as Szechuan) aren’t really a pepper, they’re a dried fruit- a tangy, tingly fruit that resembles black peppercorns.  They leave a warm, tingly feeling on your tongue, and I have been using them quite often lately.

Lindsay and Melissa

Recently, my friends at Greensbury Farms send me some of their wonderful Duck Breasts to try!  I’ve been playing around with this recipe, so I rolled it out while Lindsay O’Neill was down cooking with me!  I’m so glad we did this, as it’s turned in to one of my favorite recipes!


The seasoning blend for the duck breasts was really quite simple, with the Sichuan pepper being the only exception.   My local grocery stores do not carry them, so I used Amazon to get them in.  Toasting them before using them is very important, as it will bring out the oils of the peppercorns.  Also, they have a wonderful aroma that will infuse the rest of your seasonings if you toast them!  To toast them, simple put in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes.  You’ll know they’re done when the entire kitchen smells wonderful.  I put the toasted peppercorns in a mortar with kosher salt and black pepper then lightly cracked the peppers.


Always use a meat thermometer!

The key to cooking duck breasts is pretty simple- lightly score the skin to help render some of the fats, cook slow enough to help render, then sear to crisp up the skin.  Try to pull the duck breasts at 130 degrees (they’ll carry to a beautiful rosy medium rare after resting for a few minutes!)  I cooked these on my Arteflame Grill which is absolutely perfect for cooking this recipe.  

As you get farther away from the center, the Arteflame top is cooler.  So I placed these on outside edge, skin side down, and cooked for about 20 minutes.  This lets the fats render from the duck breast quite nicely.  I flipped them over to get some sear on the meat side, then placed near the center, skin side down, to crisp up the skin.  

OMG!  Tender, luscious and perfectly cooked duck breasts!  If you don’t have an Arteflame yet, you can create the same effect in a skillet.  Simply start cooking at medium low heat, then after rendering pull the duck breast out of the pan for a minute.  Heat the skillet to medium high and put them on again (skin side down) to crisp up the skin.  Easy Peasy!

Duck Breasts on Arteflame!


I love vibrant sauces, and I must say this one has a rich hue, both in color and flavor, that I love.  A note about plums- they’re not all created equal!  I used a red fleshed plum for the color (and I also like the flavor better.)  I did peel them as cooking with the peels tends to add too much bitterness.  The recipe is quite simple though, and can be done in advance and simply heated up.

Look at that Beautiful color of the Sauce!


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