A classic recipe for a special night in!
How to make the perfect Roast Duck with Rich Plum Sauce
Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves two people
The quality of duck meat available in butchers and supermarkets has massively improved over recent years, thanks to an increased interest in the meat and a growing public curiosity into where their meat comes from, and the quality of life enjoyed by the animal before slaughter.
This is great news for many reasons, but not least because at its best, duck is a beautiful meat, full of richness and flavour which offers so much more than other birds. The gaminess, the aroma, the dense, delicious texture are all real joys to the senses, and thanks to its strong characteristics, duck responds brilliantly to a wide range of additional flavours and spices.
This makes it ideal for bold, brave cooking, big on taste and ripe for experimentation. Some combinations are real classics, though, and this dish of duck with plum sauce is a timeless dish sure to impress. Try it out on a romantic evening for two - you won’t regret it.
What you'll need:
- Two organic duck breasts
- One star anise
- One sprig of thyme
- Twenty-five grams of butter
For the sauce:
- One finely chopped shallot
- Two hundred and fifty grams of plums (the dark red ones are best) cut into wedges and with the stone removed
- Fifty grams of demerara sugar
- Fifty millilitres of red wine
- Three hundred millilitres of beef stock
- One tablespoon of olive oil
Start with your sauce. Firstly, soften your shallots in a large pan with the olive oil - be careful not to let them colour. Add your plums and the sugar, and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
Add the red wine and stock, and then keep on a decent simmer for about fifteen minutes. The sauce should reduce a little and thicken, if you keep stirring. Keep warm on a low heat, until you’re ready to serve.
Preheat your oven to 180C. Score the skin of your duck breasts with a very sharp knife, and season well with salt and pepper.
Heat a good, non-stick frying pan, and place your duck breasts into the hot pan, with the skin down. Fry these for about six minutes, and then turn them over. At this point, throw in your star anise, thyme, and butter. Let the butter melt, and baste the duck in the pan with the melted butter and juices for a couple of minutes.
Transfer the duck, butter and spices into a small roasting tray, and finish cooking them in the oven. If you want your duck quite rare and pink, cook them for six minutes. For well done duck, give them ten to twelve minutes.
When your duck breasts are ready to your liking, take them out of the oven and again baste them well in the juices. You’ll want to rest them for at least five minutes before serving, to ensure full juiciness.
To serve, slice the duck breasts a few times, and arrange on a plate. Add some of your plum sauce, and serve with spinach and potatoes. Perfection!
Wine pairing for Roast Duck with Rich Plum Sauce
There are some dishes which go well with a wide range of drinks, from pop to fruit juice, beer to cider. This one, however, is clearly a dish that was made for wine.
Gamey meat, subtle spices, big fruit flavours… the ingredients list sounds like a set of tasting notes from the back of a decent bottle of red.
However, while we might be tempted to pair spiced duck with something bold and full-bodied, we have to remember that duck really is one of the fattier meats out there. As such, we need something with a bit of bounce and acidity and freshness, and we need to think about those plum flavours that are a key component of this dish.
I think the obvious choice here would be a good Pinot Noir, which loves meat and fruit, and also goes well with lightly spiced dishes.
There you have it -- your classic roast duck bathed in rich plum sauce for an added kick!
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