In the southern hemisphere winter is upon us, and what better way to keep warm than with a hearty meal. Our Chef, Dylan, prepared this seared duck dish and shares tips on how you can recreate it yourself in the comfort of your own home.
The dish is composed of seared duck breast, wild mushroom broth, sweet corn and button mushroom ragout, truffle essence and tempura baby spinach with nasturtium leaves. It’s not too heavy, but will definitely warm you up on cold evenings. The mushroom broth is extremely versatile and can be used with many other proteins such as beef fillet, lamb rump/rack etc. but Dylan finds that it works best with the duck breast.
A marinade that is simple and extremely tasty
- 250 ml orange juice
- 1 star anise
- 15 ml toasted whole coriander seeds
- 3 black pepper corns
- 2 twigs thyme
- 2 ml smoked maldon salt
- 10 ml golden honey
Place all the ingredients into a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately, and place in the fridge to cool down for roughly 30 minutes. The marinade is then ready for use.
Tips for marinating duck breast
Many people marinade duck by placing the entire breast into the marinade. This, however, causes the skin to burn and doesn’t allow you to get the crispy golden skin most people desire. Once your marinade is completed, the best way is to pour a thin layer in a flat tray and carefully place the duck breasts inside the marinade – make sure the oil doesn’t get into the marinade. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the marinade to seep in.
Wild mushroom broth
- 1 sliced onion
- 2 chopped and peeled carrots
- 1 stick celery chopped
- 2 twigs thyme
- 1 punnet wild mushrooms
- 125ml Port
- 250ml water
- 3 black pepper corns
- 5ml crushed coriander seeds
In a medium size pot sweat the sliced onions off until they become translucent, add the black pepper corns and coriander seeds to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes and then add the mushrooms, carrots and celery and cook until the mushrooms become soft. Deglaze the pot with the port and reduce it by half. Once you have reduced the port, add the water with the twigs of thyme and slowly reduce the liquid until half remains. Once the liquid is reduced, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. It is then ready to be used.
Sweet corn and button mushroom ragout
- Half a punnet of button mushrooms chopped
- 125g sweet corn
- 125ml beef stock
- 50ml medium cream sherry
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
In a frying pan, add a 5ml of butter. Once the pan is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook out until they are soft. Cook the sweet corn and garlic for a further 5min, and deglaze the pan with the sherry. Add the beef stock and reduce until the liquid becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. The ragout is now ready!
Creating the perfect crispy skin
Creating the perfect duck breast is all about the skin… Place the duck in the freezer to firm up the skin, this will allow you to easily score (making small uniform cuts on the meat) the duck skin, which in turn allows the slow rendering of the duck fat. This is done over low heat. You really want to get rid of the white fat as it is extremely tough and unappealing to the eye. Also keep checking the skin, as it tends to burn easily.
Dylan never adds any oil to the pan while cooking, as the duck breast creates its own – giving it a much better flavour. Once the skin is a crispy golden brown, turn the breast over in the pan and cook until the desired temperature. CHEF’S NOTE: The temperature depends on how you like your meat (medium-rare at 57°C). When done, remove from the pan.
TIP: Refrigerate the excess oil for use when you next make roasted potatoes or to create a delicious blueberry and duck vinaigrette.
Assembling the dish
Place a little of the ragout in the bowl, then place the sliced duck on top of the ragout. Pour the broth over the duck slowly and drizzle a little bit of truffle essence over garnish with some edible flowers and nasturtium leaves for colour.