Pan-Fried Duck Breast with Braised Red Cabbage, Fondant Potato & Port Sauce
This duck recipe is really something special leading up to Christmas. The duck is juicy with a crisp skin, the potatoes soft and fluffy from simmering in stock and the red cabbage full of beautiful festive spices. The duck cooks very quickly, so have your Thermapen on hand to make sure you don’t overcook it.
2 large duck breasts
5g salted butter
For the cabbage
1 small red cabbage, quartered and sliced
2 apples, quartered and sliced
1 small brown onion, quartered and sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
25g salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
10 walnuts cut into pieces
1 tsp allspice
For the fondant
8 medium potatoes, ideally Russet or another floury variety
5 cloves garlic, crushed
Large sprig fresh thyme
1 litre mushroom or chicken stock
To make the cabbage
1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish, add the onions and gently sauté for 5 mins.
2. Add the cabbage and apple and cook for another 5 mins before seasoning.
3. Add the allspice, butter, vinegar, sugar and walnuts and cover.
4. Heat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/ gas 3. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, removing and stirring a couple of times throughout.
To begin the duck
1. Remove the duck from the fridge and pat the skin with some kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Score the skin and season with salt and pepper.
2. Leave to come to room temperature while you make the potatoes.
To make the potatoes
1. Prepare a bowl of cold water.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut a flat top and bottom to create a barrel shape. Once cut, pop the potatoes into bowl of water until needed.
3. Once all the potatoes are ready, remove from the water and place on some kitchen towel to remove excess water.
4. Heat a small pan. Add the butter and then the potatoes.
5. Brown the potatoes on the top and the bottom until golden. This should take roughly 5-6 mins each side.
6. Add the garlic and thyme to the pan and coat the potatoes with the garlic-infused butter.
7. Now add half of the stock, cover with a loose lid, turn the pan to a simmer and leave for around 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
8. Keep to one side on a low heat, adding more stock if needed, and basting with the delicious liquor to keep the potatoes moist.
To finish the duck
1. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, without any oil.
2. Cut the duck breasts length ways so you have four portions.
3. Place the duck breast skin-side down in the hot pan. Cook for up-to 5 minutes until the skin turns golden brown, turn over and sear for 1 minute. Pour off excess oil throughout.
4. Turn the oven up to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas 4. Place the duck breast-skin side up on a baking tray in the middle of the oven.
5. Cook to 57°C for medium rare or 77°C for well done. Remove and leave to one side.
6. Pop the frying pan on the stove top or transfer all juices to a small saucepan. Turn the stove top to a low heat and deglaze the pan, adding a knob of butter and the port.
7. Move the pan around until all the butter is melted, turn to a simmer, and reduce by half.
8. Serve the duck breast with the cabbage and potatoes and drizzle with the port sauce.
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