ONE RAINY LAZY SUNDAY, MY FAMILY AND I WERE HAVING DIFFICULTY PEELING OURSELVES OFF THE SOFA, when my brother said he was craving duck.
I’ve never been a duck person, but the thought of trying something new inspired me to get off the couch and into the kitchen. This is an Ottolenghi take on a classic orange and duck combo. What makes this unique (and even MORE YUMMY) is the dry rub, especially the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Here’s the Ottolenghi recipe.
HERE’S MY TAKE:
Serves 4, if the ducks breasts are large.
For the dry rub
- 4 duck breasts, weighing 180–200g each
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes (I use a BIG pinch)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
For the sauce
- 240ml orange juice (blood orange juice, if you can find it)
- 3 oranges (blood oranges, if you can find them)
- 180ml red wine
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 10 star anise
- 6 dried chillies
*Don’t forget to scroll down for your Savory Sounds cooking soundtrack.
- Score the skin of each duck breast in 3 or 4 parallel incisions, without cutting into the meat. Repeat at a 90° angle to the other cuts to get square shaped incisions.
- Mix the dry rub ingredients. Rub them thoroughly all over the duck breasts with your hands. I also stuff bits into the cuts. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for a few hours in the fridge (overnight, if you can).
- Peel the oranges and cut slices, following the natural curves. Make sure you cut off all the white bits.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan (one for which you have a lid). Place the duck breasts in it, skin-side down, and cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes, then remove the duck from the pan and keep in a warm place.
- Discard most of the fat from the frying pan and add the wine, vinegar, orange juice and star anise. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5–6 minutes, until reduced by about half. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Return the duck breasts to the pan and stir to coat them in the sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 7-10 minutes. Don’t over cook them. You want the duck meat to be medium-rare.
- Remove the duck breasts from the sauce, place on a cutting board and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes. While you wait, check the sauce. It may need to be simmered a little longer to thicken it slightly. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Sprinkle chilli flakes over the orange slices. Serve the duck with the orange slices. Pour a little sauce on the duck. Serve the rest on the side.
With every piece of duck, be sure to bite into an orange slice! It makes all the difference!
THIS DISH TAKES A BIT OF WORK, so I need music that keeps me on my feet.
This one had me moving around the kitchen:
Purple Disco Machine is a German DJ duo. They’ve got quite a few tracks that I love. This is one of them:
This is a fab loungey version of Blame by Calvin Harris: