Duck breast

Duck breast with spicy honey

Duck breast is a wonderful piece of meat! The key is not to overcook it otherwise it will become dry. It should remain nice and pink. Preparing it is surprisingly simple and the method I use ensures it will be perfectly cooked every time. Duck meat in general combines really well with sweet sauces (canard à l’orange anyone?); this honey sauce is probably my favourite. Plus, it always sounds elegant and special when you serve duck. To add some variation to this dish, you can try substituting the parsnip with parsley root or celery root and combining the carrots with beetroots and salsify.

Ingredients

Difficulty 
For 2 persons

Duck

  • 2 small duck breasts
  • 1 teaspoon spice mix

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Spice mix
  • 100 ml water

Spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground koriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Parsnip puree

  • 2-3 parsnips
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 100 ml cream

Carrots

  • 3-4 carrots, different colours (I use orange, yellow and purple)
  • Butter
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the parsnips in small pieces. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and cook the parsnips until tender.
  2. Peel and cut the carrots into sticks. Blanch them in hot water 2-3 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  3. Score the skin of the duck breasts in squares and rub in the spice mix and a pinch of salt.
  4. Place the breasts skin-side down in a cold frying pan. Turn up the heat and cook until the skin is brown and crispy. Turn the breasts over, cover and set aside. The duck will continue cooking and will rest at the same time.
  5. In the meantime prepare the sauce. Heat the honey in a pan, then add the vinegar and spice mix. When it thickens, add the water to dilute the mixture, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.
  6. Drain the parsnips, add the cream and blend them into a smooth puree.
  7. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sautee the carrots.
  8. To serve, put some puree on serving plates, top it with the carrots and the breasts cut into slices. Pour some sauce (be generous) and enjoy!

What’s the difference between a magret de canard and a ‘normal’ filet? Marget is the product of force-feeding the duck, the same way goose gets force-fed to produce foie gras. At specialised shops you usually have the choice between the two. And don’t worry, it’s not as expensive as it sounds!
   

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