By Scott Leysath -

Over the years, I've had a surprising number of waterfowlers tell me that as much as they like getting up before dawn and slogging through the marsh to hunt ducks, they don't always enjoy preparing the birds they harvest. Sure, they've tried various recipes, but they have yet to master the art of cooking duck.

I have a few go-to recipes to help these hunters. The first includes seasoned duck breast fillets, a splash of balsamic vinegar, something sweet, a little garlic, and some butter to smooth out the edges. Provided that the meat has been brined first and is not overcooked, this easy-to-prepare dish will impress just about anyone. A simple stir-fry with marinated sliced duck, quickly cooked with fresh vegetables and a spirited sauce, is another sure-fire recipe. And then there's the duck sandwich.

Most people don't think about using duck as sandwich meat. But if you can make a sandwich with beef, chicken, or pork, why not with thinly sliced duck? Duck French dip. Duck cheesesteak.

Barbecued duck topped with coleslaw. The possibilities are endless. The following recipe, which features broiled, pan-seared, or grilled duck breast medallions served between toasted sourdough slices with lots of sweet-hot red onion and piquant horseradish sauce, is one of my particular favorites. It tastes just like a roast beef sandwich, only better.

Preparation Time: about 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 2-3 hours
Cooking Time: 6-8 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 3 large skinless duck breast fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 8 slices sturdy sourdough or French bread
  • Melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2-3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (optional)


  1. Place the duck pieces between sheets of plastic wrap and lightly pound them with a mallet or heavy skillet into medallions, about 1/4-inch thick. In a medium bowl, whisk together the beef broth, Worcestershire, olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Add the medallions, toss them to coat, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. While the meat is marinating, break apart the onion slices into rings and gently toss them in a medium bowl with brown sugar and Tabasco. Toss a few more times to evenly coat the rings and refrigerate until the meat is ready to cook.
  3. Combine the horseradish sauce ingredients and stir until blended.
  4. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and lightly brown them in a preheated 325-degree oven. Flip the bread over, brush with butter, return to the oven, and toast until lightly brown.
  5. Remove the medallions from the marinade and pat them dry. Place the onion rings on a hot grill, griddle, or pan; cook until lightly brown. Remove them and set aside. Add the medallions to the heat and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes per side, but not past medium-rare.
  6. Place four slices of bread, buttered side down, on a clean surface and pile them with duck and onions. Place another slice of bread, buttered side up, on top of each. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve them with horseradish sauce on the side.