Recipe: Duck breast with lingonberry sauce

Recipe: Duck breast with lingonberry sauce
Duck with lingonberry sauce and Swedish mashed potatoes. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food
It is lingonberry season! Food writer John Duxbury pairs duck with this Swedish cuisine essential.

Lingonberries, also known as cowberries or foxberries, ripen in August and September and are picked all over Sweden to accompany many traditional Swedish dishes, such as meatballs (köttbullar), stuffed cabbage rolls (kåldolmar), and potato pancakes (raggmunk).

And although duck is not traditionally Swedish, it does not mean you can’t make a delicious Swedish dish out of it!


Serves: 4

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Total: 35 minutes


 Duck can be very fatty but this technique for cooking the breasts substantially reduces the fat content while preserving the flavour.

– Because lingonberries are quite tart it’s best to use them in a sweetened sauce. You also only need a small amount of chicken stock because a heavy beef stock would be overpowering.

– If you are using rårörda lingon (sweetened lingonberries) instead of fresh lingonberries, omit the sugar completely.

– Garnish the dish with a few lingonberries for anyone with a sense of humour who has never had lingonberries before! (They really are too tart to eat on their own!)


4 duck breasts, about 150g (6oz) each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

45g (3 tbsp) of caster (superfine) sugar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

360mL (1 ½ cups) of water

60mL (1/4 cup) of chicken stock

150g (6oz) of lingonberries, fresh or defrosted

2 tsp of cornflour (corn starch)

15g (1 tbsp) of butter


To make the recipe easier to follow the directions for cooking the sauce are given separately, but the duck breasts are easy to cook so it is recommended to cook the sauce at the same time.

Duck breasts

1. Pat the skin of the duck breast with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Score the skin and season with pepper. Leave for 30 minutes or so to come to room temperature.

2. Preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 200ºC).

3. Season the breasts with a little salt and place skin side down in a cold non-stick pan on a medium heat without oil for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Spoon off the fat regularly. Flip the breasts over and seal the other sides for about 30 seconds.

4. Place the breasts skin side up on a trivet in a roasting pan in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes (rare) or 15 minutes (medium).

5. Rest the meat in a warm place for 10 minutes before carving.

Lingonberry sauce

1. Melt the sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan over a medium-low heat without stirring.

2. When melted, take the pan off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, water, chicken stock and two thirds of the lingonberries.

3. Place back on the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil rapidly until reduced by half.

4. Sieve the mixture into another saucepan and add the cornflour (corn starch) mixed with a little water. Place back on the heat and stir until thickened.

5. Add the remaining lingonberries and season to taste. Stir in the butter just before serving.

Serving suggestion

Serve with some lovely creamy potatismos (mashed potatoes) to mop the lovely sauce. Garnish the mos with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

Recipe published courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.