Duck meatball with fig glace is a lean yet splashing dish of duck meat. The skin of a duck contains most of its fat. Therefore, the minced meat is made of the skinned breast and leg meat, leaving the leg tendons out.  As the fat contributes to taste, we compensate this by serving it with an intensely fig flavored, concentrated duck gravy, the duck glace. For the latter we first make a duck stock from bones and meat. Then concentrate in the presence of some sherry vinegar. Making the glace could all be done in advance, as the glace freezes well.

the art of making duck meatball with fig glace

The lean meat for making the duck meatball can be easily ground in a hand meatgrinder. Remove the skin and the leg tendons first. Do not grind it fine, as you may lose juices. Course is good. Spice it up a bit, for example with thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg and some Dijon mustard. You may want to add some breadcrumbs to make the ball firmer. Also, you could add an egg, but I find this not necessary, usually.

And I add some solid butter crumbled into the meat mixture. This will melt and bast the meat while pan frying the lean balls. Just before serving, push a clean duck leg bone in the ball for a special decorative effect. Serve on a thin bed of Chinese broccoli or spinach leaves or the like.

Make the glace as explained here. This glace will hearten things up and forms also an important part of the dish.

Special equipment

a (hand) meat grinder

Duck meatball ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Duck meatball with fig glace

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Belgian, French
Servings 4


Ingredients for the meat ball

  • 2 medium duck breasts
  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 oz bread crumbs plus extra for the outside
  • salt to taste
  • thyme to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • duck fat or vegetable oil for panfrying
  • 1 small egg optional


Instructions to make the duck meatballs

  • Generate four clean duck leg bones, best is by making a broth from the legs and removing all meat afterwards. You can do this in advance
  • Remove the skin from legs and breasts. reserve for other purpose (like rendering duck fat)
  • Cut out the leg tendons and cut up the leg meat. The leg can be used in making the duck glace
  • Cut up the breasts in pieces
  • Move the meat twice through the course meat grinder
  • Add the spices and herbs
  • Cut up the cold butter in small pieces and mix with the ground meat
  • Add breadcrumbs and optionally an egg until the meat mixture is solid enough to make a ball that sticks together
  • Make four balls and coat them with breadcrumbs
  • Generate four clean duck leg bones, best is by making a broth from the legs and removing all meat afterwards.
  • Heat up the fat or oil in a frying pan and brown the balls on all sides on medium heat initially and on low heat later. In 15 minutes the meat inside the balls should be heated through.
  • Just before serving, stick a clean duck bone in each ball and serve on a bed of briefly grilled Chinese broccoli or spinach leaves
  • Pour the glace at the side of each ball and offer some extra in a sauce cup.


Method: frying, simmering
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword duck, fig, glace, meatball


  1. Some people do not like to eat duck meat because it is rich and dishes are fatty. The fat almost exclusively comes from the skin, and removing the skin yields very lean meat. However, the skin and skin fat also offer flavor, as we know from the famous Beijing Duck skin.  The glace, which does not contain much fat at all, is therefore essential to balance the flavor of the lean duck meatball.
  2. The recipe of the glace you find here. Make it in advance, to take off pressure from the cook when guests have arrived.

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