Roast duck breasts with agen prunes and armagnac

Roast duck breasts with agen prunes and armagnac
  • Serves icon Serves 2
  • Time icon Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 8 min, plus 1 week macerating

Learn how to roast duck breasts in this impressive (yet achievable) dinner recipe from chef Henry Harris. The meal for two would make a great alternative to roast dinner on Christmas Day.

Henry says: “The roast duck breast with prunes is inspired by roast magret de canard from southwest France.”

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
425kcals
Fat
22.7g (8.9g saturated)
Protein
15g
Carbohydrates
22.3g (15.2g sugars)
Fibre
3.9g
Salt
1.5g
Calories
425kcals
Fat
22.7g (8.9g saturated)
Protein
15g
Carbohydrates
22.3g (15.2g sugars)
Fibre
3.9g
Salt
1.5g

Ingredients

For the macerated prunes

  • 250g sugar
  • 500g agen prunes (stone in if you can get them)
  • 150ml armagnac

For the duck

  • 1 large or 2 small free-range duck breasts (about 450-500g in total; see Know-how)
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 50ml red wine
  • 125ml good quality chicken stock
  • 4 macerated agen prunes (see above), pitted and halved
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 20ml armagnac
  • Bunch watercress
  • Cooked potatoes to serve (optional)

You’ll also need…

  • Large sterilised Kilner jar for the prunes (see Make Ahead)
  • Medium ovenproof frying pan

Method

  1. At least a week ahead, marinate the prunes. Put 250ml cold water and the sugar in a pan on a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, → bring to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool. Transfer the prunes to a large Kilner jar or similar, then add the armagnac and enough cold syrup to cover. Stir and seal with the lid, then leave in a cupboard for at least a week (see Make Ahead).
  2. When you’re ready to cook the dish, heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Trim the duck of any sinew, then score the fat with a sharp knife in fine, deep lines in a criss-cross pattern, taking care not to cut into the flesh. Season.
  3. Put the duck breast fat-side down in a cold ovenproof frying pan, put on the hob and start cooking on a medium heat. Fat will start to render out, then the skin will begin to crisp. Once there’s a visible amount of liquid fat, use it to baste the meat every couple of minutes. Do this for 8-10 minutes, turning down the heat if the fat is getting too dark. Turn the breast, then transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 8 minutes more for rare (or for slightly longer if you like your duck less pink). Remove from the oven, transfer to a board and leave to rest, uncovered, in a warm place (see tip).
  4. Return the pan to the hob, add the butter and melt over a low heat. Add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the red wine and in moments it will have reduced to almost nothing. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn to a gentle simmer and add the 4 halved prunes.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, then check the seasoning of the sauce, adding salt and pepper if needed. If the sauce has become too sweet or cloying, add a few drops of lemon juice. Finally stir in the armagnac and remove from the heat.
  6. Carve the duck into slices and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with the watercress, then spoon over the sauce. Sauté potatoes or potatoes roasted in the duck fat would be good on the side.

delicious. tips

  1. Henry says: “Keep leftover duck fat in a sealed container in the fridge to use for roast potatoes.”

  2. The prunes are best macerated for at least 1 week. If you’re short on time, macerate them overnight.

    Only a few prunes are used in the recipe. The rest will last for months in a cool place in a sterilised jar.

  3. The muscovy (or barbary) ducks that are traditionally used for magret de canard are larger than most other breeds.

  4. Plump for a richer, more hearty red from the southwest such as minervois or fitou and decant the wine before serving.

Recipe By

Henry Harris

Subscribe

Fancy getting a copy in print?

Subscribe to our magazine
Subscribe now

Rate & review

Rate

4.5 votes

Reviews

Share your thoughts...

Rate & review

Rate

4.5 votes

Subscribe to our magazine

Subscribe to delicious. magazine this month for a half price subscription

Subscribe

Download our digital version

Subscribe to the digital edition of delicious. magazine

Subscribe now