Crispy duck breast with easy orange sauce and roast potatoes

Serves 2

  • 1 x large (350/400gr) duck breast with skin on
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a little duck fat (or butter) for frying

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 rounded dessert spoon of duck fat (or ca. 50gr butter)
  • 1 ½ rounded dessert spoons plain flour
  • 1 pod of good chicken stock (eg Maggie jus de vollaile)
  • ca. 3cl good orange juice with pulp (shop bought is fine)
  • ½ small glass dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • small pinch of French “cinq épices” spice blend (or a little of what you have in the cupboard – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon – but not too much of each as to be overpowering)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ca. 5cl single cream

This dish takes only moments to cook and overcooking the duck will ruin it, so start with the potatoes – peel and quarter four medium sized potatoes, put into a saucepan with cold water to cover and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Whilst they are cooking heat the oven to 200C. Drain the potatoes and return briefly to the heat shaking the pan gently to ensure they are dry and “rough up” the edges. Put to one side while you melt about 2 dessert spoons of duck fat in the oven in a metal roasting dish large enough to take all the potatoes in one layer. Once nice and hot, gently tip in the potatoes then turn them one at a time so they are covered in duck fat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and put into the oven (middle shelf) for about 40 – 45 minutes. Check after about 30 minutes – they should be starting to brown (but not burn). If they are not browning it may be necessary to raise the oven temperature slightly for the last 10 minutes.

Make the sauce when the potatoes have about 10 minutes to go:

Melt the duck fat in a non-stick saucepan. Add the flour and combine with the fat using a whisk, add half the orange juice and the white wine, cook up until it thickens and add more orange juice as necessary until the desired consistency – it should coat the back of a spoon. Add all the other ingredients – stock pod, marmalade, sugar, spice, salt & pepper and, finally the cream. Stir well to mix, bring back to the boil then put to one side to keep warm whilst you cook the duck.

The duck breast:

Wash the breast and pat dry on kitchen paper. Season the skin side well with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the duck fat in a heavy frying pan until quite hot. Place the duck breast, skin side down and leave without turning for 3 minutes. Turn over and reduce the heat to medium, again leave for 3 minutes – it should be hot throughout but still pink. If you are not keen on pink meat you can leave it to cook for another minute – but no more as the more it cooks the tougher it will get. Allow the meat to rest off the heat for a further two minutes. Cut into slices across using a sharp knife and drizzle a little sauce over to serve. Serve with the potatoes and the rest of the sauce separately.

Fresh green beans make a lovely clean-tasting accompaniment to this dish.

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