(All Recipes have Gluten-Free Options)
Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Spiced Peaches (Serves 4)
This is a beautiful looking dish, the colour of the peaches totally lifts the plate. Despite looking like a rather complex recipe it is actually very straightforward; you just need to have two frying pans on the go and read the recipe through first! If you are serving it to guests it is a good idea to prepare the peaches, sauce and duck beforehand (to stage 6) and then when your guests arrive, just oven cook the duck and finish off the sauce. You could use nectarines if peaches aren’t available. This is a recipe which I have taken from Daniel Galmiche’s cookbook, ‘French Countryside Cooking’. I like to serve this dish with my staple side dishes, ‘Sautéed Spinach with Garlic’ and ‘Concetta’s Potatoes’ (both recipes are here).
100g caster sugar
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken
4 unripe peaches or nectarines
4 duck breasts
2-3 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
50g unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
125ml chicken stock
Sea salt and black pepper
- First place the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a high heat and ‘roast’ for a few minutes until aromatic. Then crush using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- Cut the peaches in half (I find it is easier to skin them if they are cut them in half before cooking). Put the sugar in a large pan with the cinnamon stick and 750ml water, cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the peaches and poach for about 5 minutes. Remove the peaches and reserve 125ml of the syrup. When the peaches have cooled, skin them, removing any stones, cut each half into slices. Set aside.
- Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the crushed Szechuan peppercorns over the skin. Place the breasts in a dry frying pan, skin side down, over a low heat to render down most of the fat, this may take as much as 10-15 minutes. When the fat is rendered, turn up the heat to crisp up and brown the skin (about 2 minutes). Finally, turn over to sear the underside for minute or so. Remove the duck breasts from the pan to a baking tray (keep to one side), pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the frying pan.
- To make the sauce, return the pan with the tablespoon of duck fat to the hob, heat gently over a medium heat, then add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes until softened, then pour in the sherry vinegar and deglaze the pan, stirring to remove any caramelised bits on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring for 5 minutes until reduced by half. Set the pan to one side.
- In another frying pan, melt 25g of the butter over a medium heat. Add the peaches and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally until they are golden brown and slightly caramelised. Remove and leave to one side. Add the cinnamon and the 125ml of reserved poaching syrup to the pan. Cook over a medium heat, until then syrup turns a caramel colour and has slightly thickened. Return the peaches to the pan, toss gently in the syrup, then remove from the heat – cover with foil and leave to one side.
- To finish cooking the duck breasts, place the baking tray with the duck, in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 8-10 minutes (depending on their size). Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes, before cutting into thick slices.
- Meanwhile return the pan with the peaches and syrup to the stove and gently reheat. Remove the peaches from the syrup, put to one side and keep warm, reserving the syrup.
- Finally, gently reheat the sauce (with the shallots), then add the remaining 25g butter, swirl around to make a shiny sauce and add the juices of the rested duck and the reserved peach syrup, bring to the boil so that it thickens slightly.
- To serve, place each sliced duck breast on a plate surrounded by the peach slices and with the sauce spooned over.
Smoked Duck Salad with Orange & Pomegranate (Serves 4)
This is great as a starter, but is equally good as light supper dish. If you can’t find ready cooked smoked duck breasts locally, you can buy them online, I would recommend those from Farmison & Co.
2 ready cooked smoked duck breasts (see note above)
1 pomegranate (or fresh pomegranate seeds)
Handful of walnuts
1 bag mixed salad leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of an orange
Sea salt and black pepper
- Place the walnuts on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven, 180’c, for about 7-10 minutes (keep a eye on them!).
- If using a whole pomegranate, seed it. Peel one of the oranges, slice it into segments (remove any pith), and juice and zest the other.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients, seasoning to taste.
- Slice the duck breasts
- Divide the salad leaves between 4 plates, add the orange segments, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Place sliced duck in the centre and drizzle with the dressing.
Duck Breasts with Pomegranate & Walnuts (Serves 4)
This is such an easy, quick recipe but it looks so special that one would think you had spent hours in the kitchen – definitely my kind of recipe!! I like to serve it with sautéed spinach, which is super quick to make, and depending on time and the occasion, either with dauphinoise potatoes, I prefer the recipe without cheese for this dish, (recipes here) or steamed potatoes. The garnish of the coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds is very important, as they give the dish a lovely fresh, sweet tangy finish! I like to serve the duck quite pink, but if you prefer them more well done cook for a little longer.
4 duck breasts
2 medium onions, finely chopped
125g walnuts, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200ml chicken stock
Coriander leaves to garnish
Pomegranate seeds to garnish
Sea salt and black pepper
- Score the skin of the duck breasts, through the fat but not all the way through to the flesh,and salt them.
- Place the breasts in a dry frying pan, skin side down, over a low heat to render down most of the fat, this may take as much as 10-15 minutes. When the fat is rendered, turn up the heat to crisp up and brown the skin (about 2 minutes). Finally, turn over to sear the underside for minute or so.
- Place the duck breasts on a baking try and place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 8-10 minutes (see note above)
- Meanwhile remove half the duck fat from the frying pan, add the onion with a pinch of salt, cook until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute or so.
- Add the chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, walnuts and some seasoning to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes.
- Once the duck is cooked allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve on plates with the sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves.
Duck Breast with Raspberries, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Tenderstem Broccoli (Serves 4)
Duck breasts are a great midweek meal as they are so easy to cook – just brown in a frying pan to render the fat and then place in the oven for about 8-10 minutes! The raspberry sauce in this recipe is lovely, as it has a slightly sweet, tangy flavour which complements the rich meat of the duck perfectly. I like to serve the duck breasts quite pink, so if you prefer them more well done cook for a little longer than I have specified in the recipe. For a really special meal serve this dish with Dauphinoise Potatoes, I also like to serve Tenderstem Broccoli as it cuts the sweetness. The sauce calls for crème de cassis, which is something that you may not have lying around the house, but it is worth investing in, as it will keep for a very, very long time in your cupboard; I’m sure like me you’ll make this recipe again plus having it in the house gives you the perfect excuse to make a Kir Royale cocktail (recipe here). This duck recipe is also from my well used edition of ‘The Food of France’.
4 duck breasts
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons demerara sugar
250ml red wine
150ml crème de cassis
1 tablespoon cornflour
250g raspberries (defrosted if frozen)
- Score the skin of the duck breasts, through the fat but not all the way through to the flesh.
- Place the breasts in a dry frying pan, skin side down, over a low heat to render down most of the fat, this may take as much as 10-15 minutes. When the fat is rendered, turn up the heat to crisp up and brown the skin (about 2 minutes). Finally, turn over to sear the underside for minute or so. Remove the duck breasts from the pan, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Keep this pan to one side to make the sauce.
- Meanwhile mix together the sea salt, cinnamon and demerara sugar.
- Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the browned duck skin, pressing it down with your hands. Season with black pepper.
- Place the duck breasts on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 8-10 minutes.
- To make the sauce, mix together the red wine and cassis in a jug. Pour about 100ml of the liquid into a small bowl and mix in the cornflour, then pour this back into the jug and stir.
- Return the pan (with the remaining 2 tablespoons of fat) to the heat and pour in the red wine and cassis. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until it has thickened and some of the alcohol has burned off. Add the raspberries and simmer for another minute to warm through. Check the seasoning, remove and keep warm.
- Remove the duck breasts from the oven. To caramelise the sugared skin place under a really hot grill for a minute or so (don’t leave them too long otherwise you will overcook the duck meat – I actually use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelise them, so if you have one, I recommend using this).
- Allow the duck to rest for 5 minutes before slicing, serve with a little sauce over the top and the rest served separately in a jug. Accompany with Dauphinoise Potatoes (recipe here) and Tenderstem Broccoli.