Chef's Recipes

Sautéed duck hearts and livers with vine leaves

Recipe for sautéed duck hearts and livers with vine leaves by David Moyle from Franklin in Hobart.

By David Moyle
  • Serves 6
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking plus brining, cooling
Sautéed duck hearts and livers with vine leaves
Sautéed duck hearts and livers with vine leaves

"I live on a small vineyard and each autumn, when the wine is produced, my mind turns to the many uses for the by-product as foodstuffs," says Moyle. "The lees from pressing grapes dry out and make a great flavouring, which I'd whisk through the dressing for this dish. In its place, I'd recommend serving the dish with pickled grapes or a grape relish. Autumn is also when game-bird livers are at their best, after the animal has had a glut of fruit heading into winter." Start this recipe a day ahead if you're using fresh vine leaves.


  • 8 fresh or brined vine leaves
  • 750 ml soft red wine, such as pinot noir
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 William pears, peeled and cored
  • Light olive oil spray
  • 150 gm duck hearts
  • 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 50 ml almond oil
  • 150 gm duck livers, cleaned, sinew and bitter green patches removed
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced


  • 1
    If using fresh vine leaves, stir 200ml water with 20gm salt in a saucepan over low heat to dissolve salt. Remove from heat, cool completely then pour over vine leaves in a non-reactive container, cover and refrigerate overnight to brine.
  • 2
    Bring wine and bay leaves to the boil in a saucepan large enough to hold the pears. Add pears, weight with a plate to submerge completely, reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are just tender when pierced with the tip of a small sharp knife (12-15 minutes). Set aside to cool in poaching liquid (2-3 hours), then drain, reserving poaching liquid, and halve.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Drain vine leaves, squeeze out excess brine, flatten and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a baking tray, spray with olive oil and bake until crisp (7-8 minutes).
  • 4
    Clean duck hearts by removing the top of the heart where the fat and sinew are present, and refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    Heat half the butter in a non-reactive frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming, add pears cut-side down and pan-roast until caramelised (8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp almond oil and remaining butter in a separate large pan until foaming, add duck hearts and sauté for 1 minute. Increase heat to high, add livers and cook, turning occasionally, until seared (30 seconds to 1 minute; if you don’t have a large pan, do this in batches or the livers will stew). Tip livers and hearts onto a tray to rest (2-3 minutes) and season with salt.
  • 6
    Return pan to heat, deglaze with vinegar, then add 200ml poaching liquid, bring to the boil and reduce by half (2-3 minutes). Strain into a bowl, add remaining almond oil and spring onion, whisk together and adjust seasoning. Cut each pear half into 6 pieces, add to dressing with livers and hearts and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates, crush vine leaves over the top and serve.


Drink Suggestion: Elegant red such as a 2011 d’Meure Pinot Noir or a gamay.