Duck is quite possibly my favourite meat, very versatile and used in near enough all cuisines around the world, this recipe puts succulent duck breast with a smooth, slightly fruity port sauce and creamy delicious dauphinois potatoes, an ideal introduction to french cooking.
2-4 Duck breasts, preferably Gressingham
300ml Chicken stock
Few springs of thyme
4 Potatoes (preferably Maris Piper or good baking potato)
125ml Double cream
175ml Full fat milk
3 Cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Peel and slice the potatoes using a mandolin slicer which should produce wafer thin slices. Butter a large gratin dish or equivalent using 25g of the butter and layer the potatoes, each layer should have a pinch of garlic pieces and a good pinch of salt.
3. Pour the milk and cream into a jug and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, pour over the potatoes and cook in the oven for an hour.
4. Place the port, thyme and chicken stock into a saucepan and reduce on a rapid heat for around 20 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, resist whisking in the remaining butter until the duck is cooked. Preheat the oven to 200C.
5. For the duck, season both breasts with salt and pepper and place into a pan using no oil, as the duck fat will render out, start the duck on a low heat and once the fat begins to render, raise the heat slowly to high, this should take around five minutes.
6. Seal the duck on the flesh side for 30 seconds and place the pan in the oven (or if you do not have an oven-ready pan, place a tray in the oven to heat up and transfer the duck onto it to roast) cook for 8 minutes if you like your duck rare or 18 minutes for medium-well done meat. Rest for 4 minutes if cooking rare, 6 if cooking medium-well.
7. To serve, slice the dauphinois into squares and place into the plate, cut the duck into thick slices and place alongside, whisk the remaining butter into the port sauce to finish, heat through and drizzle over the duck, bon appetit!