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Recipe: Dave Foegley’s Grilled Duck Breast with Port Wine Glaze

A northern Indiana native who grew up helping bake the cookies and make the roasts at family holiday feasts, Peterson’s chef Dave Foegley got his start at Peter George’s Carriage House restaurant in South Bend, later moving to Indianapolis to work under chef Tony Haslits when George opened his original Peter’s in Fountain Square. “We were buying duck directly from Culver Duck Farms in Middlebury back then,” Foegley recalls. “And we were changing the menu as much as every week.” Here, Foegley shares one of his favorite duck dishes.
Grilled Duck Breast with Port Wine Glaze

  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and ½-inch diced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and ¾-inch diced
  • 2 tablespoon duck fat or olive oil
  • 2 slices Smoking Goose bacon, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, destemmed
  • 4 Maple Leaf Farms or other duck breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Place port, cider, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and set over medium heat.
  • Stir to dissolve sugar and simmer until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10–15 minutes. (Mixture should be syrupy and coat the back of a spoon).
  • In a large sauté pan, heat duck fat over medium heat
  • Add bacon and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add sweet potato and onion and sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic and continue cooking, stirring often, until sweet potatoes are golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
  • Add snap peas and continue cooking until peas. Keep warm.
  • With a sharp knife,  score the skin of each duck breast in a half-inch diamond pattern.
  • Sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare a hot grill or heat a cast-iron grill pan or skill to medium heat.
  • Spray grill grates with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and wipe with a paper towel.
  • Place breast skin side down in pan. Cook about 4 minutes or until fat is rendered and skin is golden. (If you have a fire flare up move the duck breasts to another part of the grill.)
  • Turn the breasts and cook 4 more minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each breast registers 135 degree.
  • Brush glaze on each breast.
  • Remove breasts from heat place on a serving plate
  • Tent with with foil and rest for 5 minutes.
  • Place hash in the middle of a serving platter or plate
  • Top with breast and drizzle more glaze over the duck. Serve immediately.


A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.