Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Savour the versatility of fruit compotes

Signe Langford
Photography by
Signe Langford

These sweet condiments have made the leap from desserts to entrées

Here’s one of my favourite compotes. It’s easy to make, goes well with duck, chicken, cheese, pork or game and many of the ingredients might well be in your pantry, right now!

Blueberry maple compote
I love serving this compote with pan seared, rare duck breast (as pictured). One duck breast will serve two people, and with a side of brown and wild rice, studded with toasted pecans, this is one very elegant and easy meal.

Makes ½ cup, enough for one duck breast.

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • The zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch sea salt


In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir all ingredients together. Stir often to keep from burning and simmer until reduced by more than half—you should see more berries than liquid—about 20 minutes.

Delicious duck
Score the fat and skin side of the breast in a crosshatch pattern.

Heat a heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet or grill pan to high.

Salt and pepper both sides of duck. Lay duck into the hot pan, fat side down, and let sear until golden brown and crispy.

All that rendered fat in the pan is liquid gold. Save it for frying or we’ll tell the French on you!

Turn the breast and reduce heat to medium. Finish cooking until medium rare. Duck is more similar to beef than to chicken—don’t overcook it. Go for an internal temperature of about 130 F.

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