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Vanilla Duck from the Île de la Réunion #EattheWorld


It's hard to believe that we are inching our way towards the end of 2021. Crazy. Welcome to the November installment of our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge

This month, we are sharing Réunionese recipes, that is to say recipes from Île de la Réunion. Here's the #EattheWorld line-up...

Vanilla Duck from the Île de la Réunion

Vanilla duck is traditionally served with white rice on Réunion Island where the pods add a delicate and subtle taste and aroma. It was delicious!

Ingredients serves 4 to 6

  • 6 duck breasts
  • 3 whole vanilla pods
  • 4 cups red wine
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Also needed: rice for serving


A Day Ahead
Place the duck breasts in a large bowl. Slice the vanilla pods down the center and scrape the seeds out. Place the seeds in with the duck. Pour in the red wine. Nestle the pods in the mixture and refrigerate overnight.

Day of Serving
Remove the duck from the marinade and pat dry. Cut into bite-sized cubes. Reserve the marinade. In a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat a glug or two of oil and add in the duck. Sear until each piece is nicely browned on the outside, approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Sprinkle the duck with turmeric and toss to coat. Add in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Then pour in the tomato sauce and all of the marinade. Tuck in the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce to a simmer. Braise until the duck is tender, approximately 90 minutes.

Remove the lid spoon out the duck. Bring the remaining sauce to a boil and cook until it reaches your desired thickness. Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and vanilla bean pods. Fold the duck into the sauce. Serve immediately with a side of rice.

Well, that's a wrap for our Île de la Réunion dishes. Stay tuned for the final installment of 2021. 


  1. This sounds amazing. Did you leave the skin on the duck breasts or remove it before cooking?

  2. That looks fascinating, I have it on my list of things to try. I keep ordering vanilla beans and I would love a way to make more than just extract.


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