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For the Experienced Chef: Ethiopian-Spiced Duck Breast

For the Experienced Chef: Ethiopian-Spiced Duck Breast

Anybody who loves duck, should definitely try this dish. It's topped with a jerk sauce marinade and beet chutney.

Chef Samuelsson recommends you pair it with Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourverdre or Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet.


For the Ethiopian-spiced duck breast

  • 1 Cup cold coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons Jerk Sauce Marinade
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 2 Cups grapeseed oil
  • 2 Cups frisee
  • 2 Cups watercress
  • 1 Cup mache lettuce
  • 2 Teaspoons Togarashi (Japanese pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Cup figs, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon pickled Japanese ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 8 Ounces foie-gras medallions
  • beet chutney

For the jerk sauce marinade

  • 1/2 Cup ground allspice
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 8 cloves
  • 6 scotch bonnet or 2 habanero chilies
  • 4 Tablespoons thyme
  • 2 bunches scallions
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

For the beet chutney

  • 3 beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons ginger, brunoise

Slow-roasted duck breast with plum sauce

Tender duck breast in aromatic plum sauce with cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. The sauce is really delicious and quick to make.

The meat is quickly seared in a pan, then roasted in the oven at low temperature. Thanks to this method, it comes out tender, never rubbery and bakes evenly.

Duck breast is red meat, so we need to treat it like a steak. The most juicy and soft duck breast is pink in the middle. Decide for yourself how you like it. I prefer my duck breast ‘medium’, but I’m preparing it ‘well done’ for my little daughter (source). ‘Well-done’ duck breast won’t be of course super tender and juicy, but it’s still much better than pan-seared-only or roasted at high temperature meat. If you don’t have an instant thermometer yet, it’s really worth to buy one. It’s a must-have when you want a juicy and tender duck breast. I described every step thoroughly in the recipe below.

Marinating meat is very important, it needs to be marinated at least overnight, or even for two days if you have time.

If you have small duck breasts (eg about 200g) or you don’t feel like turning on the oven, you can also prepare the duck only on a pan. You should give this recipe a try anyway because this sauce is so delicious!

For the plum sauce lovers, I also have this recipe: Chicken with vegetables and noodles in Chinese plum sauce.

The method description is a bit long, but I hope it won’t discourage you. It’s better to write too much than not enough, right? It’s really super quick to make, preparation time is a maximum of 15 minutes. The rest of the time the duck is in the oven.

About the baking method, I’ve read about it in Harold McGee’s book “On Food and Cooking“, where he writes: „At low oven temperatures, below 250ºF/125ºC, the moist meat surface dries very slowly. As moisture evaporates, it actually cools the surface, so despite the oven temperature, the surface temperature of the meat may be as low as 160ºF/70ºC. This means relatively little surface browning and long cooking times, but also very gentle heating of the interior, minimal moisture loss, relatively uniform doneness within the meat, and a large window of time in which the meat is properly done.”

  • 2 small duck breasts
  • 4 tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 150g/5½oz dried egg noodles or 200g/7oz fresh egg noodles.
  • squeeze fresh lime juice
  • toasted sesame oil, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1–2 tbsp sesame seeds, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4.

With a sharp knife, score a cross-hatch pattern into the duck fat. Rub the five-spice into the fat and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan. Place the duck breasts skin-side down and season the other side with five-spice, salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes or until most of the fat has run out into the pan and the skin is golden-brown. Turn the duck over and cook for 1 minute. Then cook in the oven for 3–5 minutes then allow to rest.

Warm the honey and soy sauce together in a small pan. Bring to for 1 minute. Allow to cool.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the noodles for 3–4 minutes or according to packet instructions. Drain and toss with half the spring onions, the lime juice and some sesame oil. Place between 2 bowls.

Slice the duck into strips and place on top of noodles. Drizzle over the sauce and top with the remaining spring onions, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Perfect Match Recipe: Seared Duck Breast with Spaghetti Squash, Onion Syrup, Pickled Onions & Chives

Duck breast is widely misunderstood. Perhaps due to a perception that it is fancy, duck has acquired a reputation for having a difficult personality that’s best left to the professionals. From the imagined perils of blazing-hot duck fat spluttering forth from the stove to the specter of the dreaded technical fail—meat that is greasy, rubbery and not remotely crispy—duck cookery can seem like the sort of high-stakes game you’d best steer clear of in favor of more forgiving fowl, like chicken, or familiar company fare, like steak. And yet ….

“Duck is a weird thing for people to cook,” concedes Jim Palmeri, executive chef of Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y. But “when it’s done right, it’s fantastic.”

Palmeri contends that excellence in the duck-cooking arena hinges largely on a healthy respect for duck fat. There’s a lot of it, and rendering it properly is crucial. Luckily, doing so requires no major feats of bravery and only a basic level of skill. “The key principle is to start with a cold pan,” Palmeri counsels. “It’s counterintuitive to everything else we do when we cook,” but a cold pan allows the fat to render slowly, smoothly and evenly for that crackling crust and juicy interior that are the stuff of dinner-party dreams. By contrast, placing the meat directly on a hot surface will cause it to seize up, curl, retain too much fat and ultimately burn.

In order to deliver a neat result without mangled skin, it’s also important to remove extra moisture from the duck before cooking it. “As long as the duck is patted dry and the pan is dry, it won’t stick over the time that it renders—it will release from the pan,” Palmeri says.

It’s also helpful to lightly score and generously salt the fat side before cooking it. Scoring creates additional surface area, letting the fat melt away evenly into the pan. Because a lot of the fat will render off, extra salt on that side helps to maintain a good level of seasoning.

Palmeri also notes that the meat-to-pan ratio is important for even browning. “The edges will burn on the duck skin prior to rendering it out if you only have, let’s say, one duck breast in a large pan,” he cautions. “So if they’re not overlapping but they’re near each other enough that it creates enough rendered fat to cover the entire bottom of the pan, you’ll more efficiently brown it.”

A 12-inch pan should do the trick. The duck breasts are then flipped skin-side up and transferred to the oven for a few minutes to reach a rosy medium-rare.

Several ingredients here punch well above their weight. The richly flavored duck fat is used to cook a tangle of nutty, sweet spaghetti squash strands. Red onions are pickled for a tangy edge, and the pickling liquid is reduced into a sweet-tart syrup, which gives the soul-warming meal a pleasantly piquant jab. “The sharp flavor accentuates the duck,” he says.

The tastiness of the result belies its thrift and ease. Just start with a cold pan and let the slow build of heat bring dinner into being.

Pairing Tip: Why Red Burgundy Works with This Dish

For more tips on how to approach pairing this dish with wine, recommended bottlings and notes on chef Jim Palmeri’s inspiration, read the companion article, "A Perfect Match: Duck Breast With Red Burgundy," in the Oct. 15, 2018, issue (available on newsstands from Sept. 11–24), via our online archives or by ordering a digital edition (Zinio or Google Play) or a back issue of the print magazine. For even more wine pairing options, members can find other recently rated red Burgundies in our Wine Ratings Search.

Seared Duck Breast with Spaghetti Squash, Onion Syrup, Pickled Onions & Chives

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups apple-cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Four 8- to 10-ounce Normandy duck breast halves, trimmed of excess fat (Palmeri prefers FingerLakes Farms)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (Palmeri prefers Ronnybrook Farm Dairy)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced chives

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a shallow baking dish large enough to fit both squash halves side by side, place squash skin-side up. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and create some steam, about 1 cup. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake until squash is tender and can be easily squeezed, about 45 minutes. Remove and let sit, cut-side up, until cool enough to handle. Leave oven on.

2. Use a fork to scrape the flesh out of the squash. It should shred with the look of fine pasta. Cover and set aside in a warm place.

3. In a small saucepan, combine onion, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft but not falling apart, 5 to 8 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl and strain out onions. Transfer onions to a bowl and add salt to taste cover and keep warm. Return liquid to pan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling as needed, for about 10 minutes until reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, about 3/4 cup in volume. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

4. Pat duck breasts dry. Score skin side in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Rub both sides of duck breasts with salt and pepper, with just a small sprinkling on the flesh side and a generous coating on the skin side. Place duck breasts skin-side down in a large, dry, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, so that they fit snugly without touching, and set over medium heat. Starting with a cold pan aids in rendering fat. Cook until skin side is golden-brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Flip over to flesh side and transfer to oven. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each breast registers 130° F for medium-rare, about 5 minutes. (Meat will continue to cook after you’ve taken it off the heat the final temperature should register at 135° F.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes before slicing.

6. Leaving the rendered fat in pan, reheat over medium. Add butter and swirl to incorporate. Add squash, cook until just warmed through, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives.

7. To serve, place some squash in the middle of each dinner plate. Thinly slice duck breast and place slices atop squash. Garnish with pickled red onion and drizzle syrup around plate. Serves 4.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 duck breast halves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier®)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Seville orange marmalade, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon reserved duck fat
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Score duck skin almost all the way through the skin and fat each way on the diagonal in a crosshatch pattern. Generously season with salt and rub salt into each breast. Let rest, skin-side up, at room temperature, for 15 minutes.

Whisk chicken broth, orange liqueur, sherry vinegar, orange marmalade, orange zest, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.

Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels. Re-season skin-side of duck breasts with salt.

Heat duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place duck in skillet, skin-side down, and cook for 6 minutes. Flip duck breasts and cook until they start to firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 4 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Transfer breasts to a plate to rest. Pour any rendered duck fat into a glass jar.

Return skillet to medium heat and whisk flour into pan cook and stir until flour is completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Pour orange mixture into skillet bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and is reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. When orange mixture stops bubbling, add butter stir until butter is completely melted and incorporated into the sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste.

Slice duck breasts across the grain, arrange on a plate, and spoon orange sauce over the top.

Related Video

SO easy and SO delicious, it is now a staple in my mid-week repertoire! Males a great change from the usual and never fails to satisfy.

Easy and absolutely fabulous . tender, not greasy, and with great flavors. I used a magret duck breast (a cross between Pekin and Muscovy) from Dɺrtagnan, and the quality was superb. Made it for my girlfriend as a Boxing Day treat . She pronounced it the best meal sheɽ had in years, and immediately insisted that I should make it again for Valentine's Day, and again for her birthday in March .

Without any fennel seed, I just used the garlic & rosemary, plus a healthy dose of salt & pepper. Using a bit of the duck fat left over from making confit, I seared them for about 3 minutes per side then baked as directed. Fantastic! I cut each breast into slices at an angle, and served them atop wild mushroom polenta. It's totally foolproof, and I will do it again for sure!

Amazing results with barely any effort. Will make it again and again. Used duck fat to brush slices of fennel on the grill, and the rest was used to fry some garlic and previously cooked potato cubes sprinkled with rosemary. (It was a very nice Ramadan meal shared by the husband and i a few hours ago) .

This was a fabulous recipe with a few modifications of our own. We toasted the fennel seeds before crushing, to bring out a bit more intense flavor. I grilled the duck breasts on a kettle charcoal grill - first searing on all four sides, then moving them off the heat with the dome on and roasting until internal temp was about 135 for medium rare. Also, grilled sliced, fresh fennel bulb as a side. Served with rosemary polenta and a Central Coast Zinfandel.

I made this with duck legs, and just pressed the herb mixture onto the duck skin and meat. It smells divine and really comes out delicious. Got a lot of compliments. Served with arugula salad and some lentils.

I really liked this recipe. Made with a single 1 lb duck breast cut in half (for 2 people). Tender and flavorful -- good flavor combination. I love duck when it is not greasy and thought this was great. Served it with lentils -- to do again I would have cooked the lentils in some of the duck fat.

So easy and SO delicious! I made this for a first time duck eater to rave reviews. It was super simple and very flavorful, and a refreshing change from all the duck/fruit sauce recipes out there (although I love those too). I followed the recipe except that I took a little more time to render the fat in the skillet and roasted for a little less time. Next time I will reduce the cooking time even more, however, as I prefer my duck on the rare side. Also, do NOT discard the fat! Reserve it to use the next time you roast potatoes - divine.

Before this recipe I was not very fond of duck but thought I would give it another try. This recipe changed my mind!. I would serve this again, it was excellent.

Great dish, and really easy. Like some of the other reviewers, I was relieved to find a duck recipe which did not include fruit. Tonight I am going to try it with cumin seeds in place of the fennel seeds.

Couldn't be simpler. Delicious served with red cabbage and apple.

As I'm a duck lover to begin with, I had to give this one a try. My friends and I liked it very much. It's nice to find a duck recipe that's not loaded with sweet fruit sauces. It was delicious and eyecatching too. Would definately make again.

Very, very good but I recommend shortening the cook time somewhat. The duck ended up a bit dry.

Delicious! Simple and easy to prepare, moist and flavourful. Will definitely make it again. Served it with roasted mini red potatoes with rosemary and asparagus

Easy, delicious, made with simple (and not sweet) ingredients. Yummy. Served with couscous made using the poured off duck fat and dried cranberries. Will make again and again.

Very flavorful and very simple. I will definitely make it again

Simple simple simple. Most duck recipes have lots of fruit and/or sweetness, but this is interesting and different. Very Italian and classic.

Serve it with new potatoes & lemon, I will remember the recipe eventually.

How To Make Weeknight Crispy Duck Breast

It’s easy to mistake duck for some sort of luxe specialty meat. The Chicken Industrial Complex holds near total dominion over the poultry aisle in our supermarkets, and we usually first encounter this most comical of waterfowl in a French or Chinese restaurant, if ever. In many cultures, duck is a staple, and visitors must be puzzled by its rarity here, like with lamb — or “futbol.”

But you really don’t need a lot of money, time or even skill to prepare duck at home. If you keep it simple with sides, this dinner can be made in under a half-hour. And duck is delicious too, especially the crispy skin, which is texturally a lot like bacon. It can be enjoyed with a fruit-and-booze glaze, or with just salt and pepper, and both are manageable for weeknight cooking. It’s not difficult if it were I promise you that I would have no idea how to do it.

Admittedly, we’re talking about a bit of a culinary oddball: red meat poultry, which can be served rare without giving anyone a dreadful disease. In fact, this is a bird which should be served rare. Like steak, overcooked duck sucks, and if you prepare a duck breast properly the meat should remind you somewhat of a steak, with pink to blood-red meat, depending on your preference.

Finding a duck breast can be a challenge in a standard grocery store, so hopefully, wherever you live, you’ve got a decent butcher shop nearby. In New York, we’re lucky enough to be at the epicenter of the American duck industry: Long Island, the home of the White Pekin, known commercially known as “Long Island Duck.” According to Alton Brown, the breed was a Chinese import that “ate greedily, bred lustily, and grew very fast” when they were introduced to Long Island farms. It became a wonderful bird: handsome, mild, busty and charismatic: the Dolly Parton of waterfowl. Just look at this thing. It should be singing in a Disney cartoon! So the White Pekin came to dominate the American duck market, such as it is, and Long Island became the Napa Valley of duck. (Did you realize that the Napa Valley of anything was in Suffolk County? I thought their principal exports were hideous cocktails and embarrassment. I kid, Long Island. How you doing, say hello to your mother.)

The other variety of duck breast you’re likely to find is Magret, probably from one of a few farms in the Hudson Valley. It’s good, but be warned: if you haven’t liked duck in the past, you are especially not going to like this duck. While milder in flavor than the wild specimens that you’ve probably had if you know any duck hunters, Magret has a much gamier flavor than the agreeable Pekin. It’s also freakishly large, because it comes from the unfortunate ducks bred to create foie gras, so eating it may cause self-loathing in the sensitive. You’ll probably find Long Island breasts as two lobes connected by a single piece of skin, a portion which weighs around one pound and which will comfortably feed two people. The Magret breast is often closer to four pounds, and sold by the single lobe. For either type of duck, expect to pay between $9 and $12 per pound.

Whole ducks can also be found at a good grocery or butcher shop, fresh or frozen at around five bucks a pound. They are good simply roasted in the oven, much like a chicken. They can also be given the royal treatment: Peking Duck. To experience that in its full majesty, go to the Beijing Da Dong Peking Duck Restaurant, which, yeah, is in China. The duck is carved table-side, and served with the traditional crepes, hoisin sauce, and various other condiments like daikon and green onion. You roll the whole thing up and put it into your gaping maw, and then repeat. The skin is served separately, beside a dish of raw sugar, so that when you dunk the hot skin into the sugar bowl with your chopsticks it turns to caramel, right there at the table. It’s insane. They will also present you with the duck’s head, bisected, so that at the height of your duck-crazed fugue state, you can suck Daffy’s adorable little brains straight from his skull.

But this isn’t Beijing, and you’re not a Peking Duck chef. I’ll leave it to you, but my advice is this: don’t try to recreate Peking duck at home. Sure, there are recipes on the Internet, but look, you’re going to have to spend a whole afternoon just drying the damn thing out. The duck’s corpse will be hanging piteously on a meat hook in your closet, just waiting for some unsuspecting person to find it and start screaming. Do you even own a meat hook? I never trust a person who does. And in addition to all that, my feeling is that the result will disappoint you. Maybe not, though. Maybe you like a project. Maybe you make your own sushi, too. In that case, have fun. For everyone else, either get on a plane for 18 hours, or go to Chinatown, where several places offer an almost good-enough facsimile of the Da Dong experience.

But for weeknights, there is always the pan-roasted duck breast. So let’s get started.

A quick note of caution: I’ve found that many duck breast recipes are unclear about the type of duck that they require. In this recipe from Mark Bittman, he’s clearly talking about a giant Magret, because the times and temperatures he uses would absolutely annihilate a humble White Pekin breast. But here, Gordon Ramsay is working with a White Pekin breast, or some British equivalent, again without mentioning it. This is a weird phenomenon you wouldn’t cook a rib-eye the same way you would a shell steak. So to be clear: the directions below are for a White Pekin breast.

Prep is no big deal. Look at the breast: there is the lean side, and then there’s the skin side, which is easy to pick out because it’s resting on a thick layer of creamy duck fat. Your first thought is going to be: whoa, that is a lot of fat. Two things to keep in mind: Granted I’m no authority on these topics, but I’ve read that duck fat is better health-wise than other fats. Also, and more importantly, we are going to introduce this breast to heat gradually, so that the majority of the fat will render right out of the duck. When you’re done you should strain and save this fat in the refrigerator, because it is delicious, and it will make the best fried potatoes you’ve ever had.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Season both sides of the breast with kosher salt and black pepper to taste, and then put it on a cutting board, skin-side up. With a sharp knife and a careful hand, gently score the skin in a crisscross pattern, which will not only make the duck look very preppy in its argyle sweater, but will also create channels through the fat to help it flow away as it melts off. Be reasonably careful not to pierce the tender flesh beneath. Now, slice the fat and skin that separates the two lobes of the breast, so that you have two individual and mostly equal-sized pieces. You’re done with prep.

Put both pieces of the breast, skin-side down, on the stove in a dry, room-temperature skillet, and then gradually turn the heat up to medium-high. That’s correct, no oil. As the heat rises and the fat begins to render and fill the pan, you will understand why. Once you hear the sizzling, you’re in business, so set your timer for five minutes. Let the meat sit undisturbed until the timer goes off, and then pick up an edge of one piece with your tongs and sneak a glance at the skin. It should be golden brown, crisp, and bacon-ish. Let it sit there for a few more minutes if you aren’t satisfied with the color, or with the amount of fat rendered.

Also, your skillet should be filling with molten duck fat. This is the risky part. You don’t want the bird to poach in that stuff, but you also don’t want to throw it away. Get a big bowl, and then upend your pan, holding the breast tightly against the surface with a spatula or tongs, so that you can drain the fat into the bowl. Do this a few times throughout the process. Please be careful, because hot duck fat could burn your face off. If what I’m saying makes you nervous, and who could blame you, just tip the pan and continuously scoop away the goo with a spoon.

So, the duck’s skin is now crisp. Flip it over and sear the other side for two minutes or so. Then flip it again to the skin-side before putting your pan into the 200° oven. Did I mention that you should be using a pan which does not have a plastic handle? I probably should have. Roast from five to eight minutes, depending on your desired done-ness, and then remove the pan and move the breast to a waiting plate.

Now pretend that you just cooked a steak. Poke the lean side with your finger to see how well you did. Is it springy, but firm? That’s medium rare. If it’s really soft, it isn’t done, so put it back in the oven for a few. Also, as with a steak, if you cut the meat immediately, the juices are going to run out, and the meat will become useless. Your duck needs to rest, so loosely tent the plate with foil (you want to keep the meat warm, but you don’t want it to steam) and let it relax for as close to ten minutes as your guests will allow. Slice thin pieces for better presentation value, or thick ones to keep the meat warmer on the plate.

That’s pretty much it. Easy, right? Serve it with a salad or something else light — rice or maybe couscous — because this is going to be a fairly rich meal. You should also consider whipping up a simple pan-sauce while the duck rests. L’orange sauce, hoary old classic that it is, is excellent and no particular trouble to prepare. Citrus, cherries or berries all work well, as does a balsamic reduction, or a Soy and Mirin glaze. Or check out what these Australian fellows do with pears, wine and balsamic. There are few wrong answers here, so get creative and enjoy.

Brian Pritchett is a writer and web producer in Brooklyn.

Spiced Duck Breast

With spices freshly ground in a mortar and pestle and the rich, gamey taste of duck, this recipe brings back the Medieval days of jousting tournaments and wandering minstrels. If you’ve never eaten duck before, it tastes almost like the dark meat of a chicken leg, but even more flavorful – served over mushrooms, leeks, and butternut squash, it’s a dinner fit for a king. If you’re not a fan of butternut, you could use kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) instead they both work fabulously.

The fat in the duck is one of the keys to this recipe’s depth of flavor. Duck fat is quite healthy (about 35% saturated, 52% monounsaturated, and only 13% PUFA ), and even a small amount of meat will produce some of this “liquid gold.” Don’t throw it out – save it to make confit or add that finger-licking duck fat taste to any kind of roast vegetables.

The other feature of this dish is, of course, the spices. Star anise is a traditional ingredient in all kinds of Asian duck recipes it adds a powerful note of licorice to the dish and complements the richness of the meat. One star doesn’t look like much, but resist the urge to add more: the flavor of anise is very strong, and it’s easy to overdo it.

To get the richest taste from the duck, it really is better to marinate it at least 1-2 hours before cooking. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step but you will lose some of the flavor. When you’re cooking the breasts, treat them like any red meat, and cook to your taste. The recipe gives directions for medium-rare if you like your duck still quacking, shave a few minutes off the roasting time, and if you like it well done, add a few.

Gascon-Style Duck Confit (Confit de Canard)

Confit, from the French verb confire, to preserve, is a traditional means of cooking meat slowly in its own fat. Although you may not have access to a whole foie gras duck for rendering, you can create a deeply flavorful confit with good-quality duck pieces and rendered fat bought from a trusted butcher. Adjust the salt and cooking time to reflect the size of the duck parts, using an amount of coarse sea salt equal to 3 percent of the duck legs’ weight to cure them—about 1 tablespoon of salt per pound. Get the recipe for Gascon-Style Duck Confit (Confit de Canard) » Anna Williams

Gordon Ramsay's pan-fried duck breast with spiced orange and cranberry sauce

There&rsquos few things better in life than a perfectly seared, sliced duck breast. And this Gordon Ramsay dish is no different.

duck breasts, around 225g each

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange

cranberry or redcurrant jelly, to taste

  1. Lightly score the skins of the duck breasts with a sharp knife. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the juniper berries, caraway seeds, allspice, one teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of pepper to a powder. Rub the spice mix all over the duck breasts and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
  2. Lay the duck breasts, skin side down, in a dry heavy-based large frying pan and gradually turn up the heat. Fry for five to 10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown.
  3. Turn the duck breasts over and lightly brown the other side for a couple of minutes, or until they feel slightly springy when pressed. Remove from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place while you make the sauce.
  4. For the sauce, pour off excess fat from the frying pan and place over a high heat. Pour in the port, stirring to deglaze, and let bubble for a minute. Add the remaining ingredients, except the butter, and bring to the boil. Let bubble until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and thickened to a syrupy consistency. The cranberries should be very soft squash a few with a wooden spoon, leaving the others whole.
  5. Add any juices from the resting duck. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add a little more jelly if desired. Finally, add the butter and shake the pan to incorporate it as it melts.
  6. Slice the duck breasts on the diagonal and fan them out on warmed serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the duck and serve with parsnip purée and creamed cabbage with thyme, if you like.

There&rsquos few things better in life than a perfectly seared, sliced duck breast. And this Gordon Ramsay dish is no different.

Whether it&rsquos an alternative Sunday roast choice to standard chicken, a romantic meal for two or you&rsquore throwing a dinner party the satisfyingly succulent texture of pan-fried duck will see you coming back to this recipe time and time again.

Drizzle with a fruity orange and cranberry sauce to compliment the richness of the meat, and serve with parsnip purée and creamed cabbage with thyme.

Gordon recommends that you buy either Gressingham or Barnaby duck breasts &ndash both breeds are prized for their superlative flavour. For convenience, the sauce can be made in advance and reheated just before serving.