Pumpkin Mole Sauce on Duck Breasts

This rich pumpkin mole sauce is a  perfect fall twist on a Mexican classic. Serve with perfectly cooked duck breasts for an elegant autumn meal.

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Don’t panic, its pronounced mol-ay. Mole sauce is so rich and delicious and it tastes is amazing on EVERYTHING. I say this about any Mexican sauce because its my favourite cuisine to eat and to cook (check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos). The flavours of mole already remind me so much of fall, with the cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate. It’s kind of sweet, spicy, and super rich. Traditionally, mole is thickened using corn tortillas blended into the sauce. However, as pumpkin spice weather is in full force, I thought I would make my own little twist and thicken the mole with some pumpkin puree I had kicking around in the pantry.

Mole sauce is especially delicious on poultry, and my current favourite poultry is duck. There is a great butcher near Derek’s parents place that sell free range organic duck, and I always stock up when I am there. I think that I am pretty good at cooking duck breasts, which can be a tricky feat!   The key to cooking duck breasts is that you need to render the fat in the skin. If the skin isn’t rendered, is will make a chewy layer of fat instead of delicious crispy skin that is arguably the best part of a duck breast! I render duck fat by placing the duck breasts skin side down in a COLD non-stick pan and then turn the heat to medium for about 10-15 minutes.

This recipe is definitely a little labour intensive. Prepare your ingredients at the beginning and have everything measured and ready to go. The mole sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated, as it had to cool down enough to blend! An emersion blender is on my Christmas list this year, but until then I blend all my soups and sauces in my stand up blender. Never blend anything hot in a stand up blender because it will blow the lid off, making your ceiling look like an Andy Warhol painting and potentially burning you!

Duck Breasts with Pumpkin Mole Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: challenging
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Pumpkin Mole Sauce

  • 1 tbs avocado (or preferred) oil
  • 1/2 white onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puré
  • 2oz dark chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Duck Breasts

  • 4 duck breasts
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper


Pumpkin Mole Sauce

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic on medium-high in oil until browned.
  2. Add all of the spices, combine thoroughly, and along to cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and reduce to simmer
  4. Add the pumpkin, chocolate, tomato paste, and almond butter. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Blend with an emersion blender or allow to cool until comfortable to touch , and blend in upright blender.

Duck Breasts

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Pat duck breasts dry with a paper towel.
  3. Combine all the spices, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and rub this onto the duck breasts on all sides.
  4. Place the duck breasts skin side down in a cold, oven safe frying pan. Turn on heat to medium-high and let the fat render for about 10 minutes. Fat should render out, and the skin should become dark golden and very crispy.
  5. Sear the other side of the duck for about 2 minutes
  6. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes
  7. Allow to rest before cutting for about 5 minutes or until comfortable to touch to prevent bleeding and seal in the juices.


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