A classically styled recipe that really delivers on flavour. This is not difficult but you have to concentrate for about 20 minutes to get all the components done so it’s best to get all the ingredients together first. We probably wouldn’t have set out to cook this except that we happened to have two duck breasts and were looking for something different to do with them. We’re very glad we found this recipe.
Duck Breasts with Green Peppercorn Sauce – to serve 4
- 4 large duck breasts, skinned
- 45g unsalted butter
- 150ml dry white wine
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 8 tbsp chicken stock
- 290ml double cream
- 2 tbsp wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp port
- 20g green peppercorns from a jar or can, well rinsed
- 20g mild red chilli, chopped very fine
- salt and pepper
- 20g unsalted butter
- 2 firm dessert apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
- a little caster sugar
Add the stock and boil for another 5 minutes. Add the cream and boil for a further 5 minutes, stirring now and again so it doesn’t catch. You want it to reduce by about a third and be pouring consistency.
Put the vinegar and sugar into a small saucepan. Boil until caramelized and reduced to about a tablespoon. Add to the cream sauce. Put it back over the heat again if you need to remelt the caramel. Stir well and add the port, peppercorns and chilli. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To cook the duck breasts, melt the 45g butter in a large, heavy frying pan. When it stops foaming, add the duck breasts and fry quickly on both sides to brown the surface. Reduce the heat and then fry slowly for 8-10 minutes or until the duck is medium-done in the centre. Our duck breasts were on the small side so we didn’t cook them this long. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest.
Melt the butter in another frying pan and add the sugar. Cook until starting to brown and then fry the apples until golden-brown.
Serve the duck breast with the apples and sauce.
Wine suggestion: As this is clearly a french inspired dish it’s probably best to stick to France. Perhaps something from the Languedoc-Rousillon but splash out a bit so that he quality of the fruit in the wine is more likely to match the quality of your ingredients. This would apply to both whites and reds – both could work well here.
(Original recipe from Leiths Technique Bible, Bloomsbery, 2003.)