Duck Meatballs with Pancetta Mushroom Cream

Pairs Well With


  • 3 pounds duck meat (1.5 pounds skinless breasts, 1.5 pounds skin-on breasts)
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 shallots, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon mustard powder
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir or dry red wine
  • milk


Cut the duck into large chunks; chill well. While the duck is chilling, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic; sauté until shallots are translucent (3-5 minutes). Add Pinot Noir and stir in thyme, cayenne, mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper and allspice. Reduce until the liquid is nearly gone, then transfer mix into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill. Slice up French bread loaf and place in food processor to make bread crumbs. Soak 2 cups of the bread crumbs in milk and squeeze them dry. Reserve 2 cups of bread crumbs dry.

Take duck out of the refrigerator and put through meat grinder. Add in chilled shallot/garlic mixture, salt, eggs and all bread crumbs; mix thoroughly by hand and put mixture back into the refrigerator to chill.

Heat duck fat in the skillet over medium heat and remove skins once all of the fat melts off. Form meatballs roughly 2-3 inches in diameter, and sauté in duck fat for 2-3 minutes, then flip. The fat should be up to the middle of the meatballs … too little fat, and the meatballs will square up in the pan. Make sure to maintain the heat at a moderate temperature so the meatballs cook through without browning too quickly. (It’s a good idea to do a couple trial meatballs to get things dialed in.) Remove the meatballs and let rest for a minute, then serve.

Pancetta Mushroom Cream Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: crushed, roasted pistachios


Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, then add diced pancetta. Cook for 3-5 minutes until pancetta is golden brown, then add mushrooms and green onions. Continue to cook another 3-5 minutes, until moisture has evaporated out of mushrooms and they are tender. Add white wine, bring to a boil and reduce until liquid is nearly gone. Add the cream, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until texture is thick and creamy. Stir in chopped parsley and pepper flakes, then remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over duck meatballs. Optional: sprinkle crushed roasted pistachios over the top of sauced meatballs.

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