Duck breasts with port sauce and celeriac purée
- February 2015
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 1 hour, simmering time 1 hour, plus resting
Learn how to cook duck breasts to perfection – until pink in the centre – and serve these pan-seared beauties alongside celeriac purée, cavolo nero and a rich port sauce. It’s a stunning dinner party main.
Looking for something else? Take a look at lots more of our duck recipes, here.
- 27.6g (10.6g saturated)
- 12.7g (11.6g sugars)
For the duck
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 6 free-range duck breasts
- 1 tbsp salt
- Steamed cavolo nero (see Know-how) or savoy cabbage to serve
For the celeriac puree
- 1kg celeriac (about 2 medium)
- 50ml whole milk
- 50ml double cream
- 40g butter
For the sauce
- 180ml ruby port
- 500ml fresh chicken stock
- 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- Finely grated zest ½ orange
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, then toast the fennel seeds and peppercorns for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Pound in a pestle and mortar to a coarse powder.
- Score the skin of the duck breasts using a sharp knife: make diagonal cuts through the skin and fat but not into the flesh – the closer together you score, the more crisp the duck skin will get. Do this straight from the fridge (duck fat softens as it warms).
- Mix the salt with the fennel and pepper, then rub into the scored skin. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the celeriac into small, even chunks and put in a large saucepan. Pour over water to cover, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and, when hot, add the duck, skin-side down. Fry for 5 minutes or until the skin has browned and much of the fat has been rendered (melted). Transfer to a baking tray, skin-side up, until ready to use (see Make Ahead).
- For the sauce, pour away most of the fat from the frying pan (keep any crispy bits). Add the port and stir well, scraping the bottom. Bubble for 3-4 minutes to reduce, then stir in the stock and redcurrant jelly. Simmer and reduce for 25-30 minutes until it’s the consistency of single cream.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Roast the duck breasts for 6 minutes for rare, 9 minutes for medium or 12 for well done, then rest for 15 minutes.
- While the duck is in the oven, whizz the celeriac in a food processor or blender until smooth (or mash by hand). Spoon back into a pan with the milk, cream, butter and salt and pepper, then stir over a gentle heat to warm through.
- Pour any juices from the rested duck into the sauce and stir in the orange zest. Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer.
- Slice the duck breasts crossways, then serve with the celeriac purée and sauce, with steamed cavolo nero (see Know-how) or savoy cabbage.
Make the celeriac purée in advance and either keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for 1 month.
The gravy will keep in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
Prep and fry the duck breasts, then keep covered in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature before finishing them in the oven.
Cavolo nero is a variety of cabbage with long, dark, loose and bobbly leaves. It originated in Tuscany and is now being grown in Lincolnshire. It translates as ‘black cabbage’.
A rounded, ripe red wine from the same region as port: Portugal’s Douro Valley.
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