Photo courtesy of Qype
So our saga at the Nom Nom Nom '09 continues. As we ran around Marylebone Farmers' Market, we were acutely aware of the time ticking by. I'd spotted some duck breasts earlier, at £10 for two but as we were on a budget (we were paying for the ingredients ourselves, after all) we thought it a good idea to have a shop around. We sprinted round Waitrose, freshly opened on a Sunday morning. They had every type of meat, including diced wild rabbit - no duck breasts. So, these here you see are the most expensive, slowly grown duck breasts I'll ever have bought.
Duck is the obvious pairing for fruit. It's rich, gamey meat can withstand sweet or tart fruits well, so to carry on the fruity theme we picked gooseberries, as they'd be in season. Cooking it down into a puree doesn't make the prettiest sauce, so I imagine we lost out in presentation. However, the tartness of the fruit combined with the salty, caramel-colour duck skin ane medium rare, juicy flesh was heavenly. With this, of course you need some kind of potato, and we made the most of the duck fat that we'd rendered out by frying the fondant potatoes in it. Waste not want not. Nestled on a bed of colourful Swiss chard, our dish was complete.
Duck with Gooseberry Sauce
1 duck breast
A knob of butter
2 medium sized floury potatoes
A glug of white wine
A pinch of ground cloves
Sugar, to taste
Half a bulb of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Some greenery (in our case, Swiss chard but spinach or savoy cabbage also works)
Score the duck breast and salt heavily. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Top and tail the gooseberries. Pat the duck breasts dry, and fry them on a low heat, skin side down to slowly render the fat out. This needs about 15 minutes, to really get the fat out and crisp up the skin. When this is done, turn the duck breast and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two to give it some colour. Remove and leave on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Next, fry the potatoes in the rendered duck fat until they are browned. Remove them and place in a frying pan with a lid, with the browned sides facing up. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, scatter them around the potatoes with the sprig of rosemary, chopped finely. Add the chicken stock until it comes partway up the side of the potatoes, but doesn't cover the previously fried part. Put the lid on and simmer gently for about 15 - 20 mins, or until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, heat the knob of butter in a pan and add the shallots, sliced. Fry until softened and then add the glug of wine. Simmer until reduced, then add the gooseberries and the cloves. Fry on a low heat until the gooseberries have collapsed, and mash them down with a fork. Add sugar to taste and leave to simmer gently.
Depending on how thick your duck breasts are, we put ours in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove and leave them to rest for 10 minutes, to coincide with the potatoes being finished. To serve, plate the potatoes on a warmed plate. Strain the stock into a saucepan and add the greens to be cooked in the garlicky rosemary stock until al dente, and then drain and use them as a bed to serve the duck breast, sliced on top. Spoon some of the stock onto the meat, and serve the gooseberry sauce on the side.
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