Every year when it starts to feel like springtime, I celebrate with this duck soba noodle soup. This duck & leek soup is just perfect for those cool rainy spring days. It's nourishing, comforting, and uses some of the first produce of the season.
The recipe was inspired by a duck soba noodle soup we enjoyed in Japan, and this is a non-traditional version we have continued to make regularly at home.
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Why this Recipe Works
The duck breast is seared skin-side down before it is roasted to render out the fat under the skin. Then, it is cooked in the oven until the internal temperature reaches ~130F. This makes for a perfect seared duck breast.
Using a great bone broth makes a huge difference in this soup. You can use your favorite ready-made version or make your own bone broth.
The leeks and peas are the perfect matches with the bone broth and duck. And this light, comforting soup is the perfect thing to keep you cozy on those early spring days.
leeks - hey are from the same family of onions and add that same sweet savory depth of flavor.
duck breast - ducks vary dramatically in size, and this recipe assumes each duck breast is 6-8 ounces.
peas - this recipe uses frozen peas. If using fresh, you will need to cook them for 2 extra minutes.
How to Make this Recipe
Start with prepping the duck breast. Preheat to 500F. Cut 5-6 skin-deep diagonals in each breast. Season the non skin-side of the breast with salt and pepper. And make sure the skin is very dry.
Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of duck fat or flavorless oil (optional, see note below). Sear the duck breasts skin-side down until brown, crispy, and the fat is rendered out. It will take 10-15 minutes.
Note: You do not need excess oil, but if this is your first time making duck breasts, add a thin layer of oil before searing.
In the meantime, heat up your bone broth. Separately, heat a pot of water to cook the soba noodles.
Drain the excess fat from the skillet with the duck breasts. You can keep it in the refrigerator and use it in place of butter and oil in your cooking. It's great for frying eggs, making popcorn, and so much more!
Finish the duck breasts skin side up in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Internal temperature should read 130F for medium-rare and you can check it with an instant-read thermometer. Let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing into half-inch slices.
While the duck is resting (~5 minutes), cook the soba noodles per the package instructions, add the peas to the bone broth, and quickly cook the sliced leek. You can use some of the reserved duck fat.
To assemble, add the noodles to a bowl, pour over the broth with peas and leeks, and top with your roasted duck slices.
Duck Breast FAQs
It is considered a lean, red meat, and a great alternative to mass produced options like chicken and other meats.
It has a strong, meaty texture and flavor, often described as gamey. When cooked properly, it is very tasty, juicy, and works well with many spices.
Usually, yes. If overcooked, it can be dry. Aim for an internal temperature 125-135F.
You can use duck fat in place of butter or oil in cooking many dishes including: frying eggs, popcorn, tortillas, roasted potatoes, and many more.
If you love this recipe, be sure to check out all the spring recipes on the blog. Here are some of my favorites that also use bone broth:
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Soba Noodle Soup with Duck, Leek, and Peas
- 1 lb. duck breast
- salt and pepper
- 5 cups bone broth or make your own using my recipe below
- 1 leek white part only, cut in half, then thinly sliced
- 1.5 cups peas fresh or frozen
- 9.5 oz. soba noodles
- Preheat to 500F.
- Cut 5-6 skin-deep diagonals in each breast.
- Season the non skin-side of the breast with salt and pepper. And pat the skin dry.
- Preheat your oven-safe skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Sear the duck breasts skin-side down until brown and crispy, ~10-15 minutes.
- While your duck is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil for your noodles, and separately heat the bone broth.
- Drain the excess fat from the skillet with the duck breasts.
- Finish the duck breasts skin side up in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Internal temperature should read 130F for medium rare. Let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing into half-inch slices.
- While the duck is resting (~5 minutes), cook the soba noodles per the package instructions, add the peas to the bone broth, and quickly cook the sliced leek. You can use some of the reserved duck fat.
- To assemble, add your noodles to a bowl, pour over the broth with peas and leeks, and top with your roasted duck slices.
This post was originally published in April of 2019 but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, FAQs, and tips in April of 2021.