Roasted breast duck with baby vegetables and cherries

A restaurant-style dish of duck with a homemade jus flavoured with port, star anise, cinnamon and thyme.


For the duck jus and fondant potatoes
  • 2 kg/4lb 8oz duck bones
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 475ml/17fl oz veal jus or stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 tbsp port
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled
  • 25ml/1fl oz vegetable oil
  • 300ml/10½fl oz chicken stock
  • 50g/1¾oz butter
For the spice mix
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
For the duck and vegetables
  • 2 duck breasts, fat trimmed
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 bunch baby leeks, trimmed
  • 1 bunch baby turnips, halved and trimmed
To serve
  • 20 cherries soaked in liqueur (such as Griottine), stones removed
  • 50g/1¾oz butter
  • 50g/1¾oz baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp baby beetroot cress or baby chard

Preparation method

  1. For the duck jus and fondant potatoes, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  2. Place the duck bones, vegetables and one garlic clove in a tray and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until they are golden-brown.

  3. Put the roasted bones and vegetables in a large, deep pan.

  4. Add the veal jus, one sprig of thyme and star anise and top up with water to just cover the bones (if needed). Bring to the boil skimming off any impurities that rise to the top.

  5. Simmer the stock for about four hours then pass through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth.

  6. Put the port and vanilla pod and seeds in a pan and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the volume of liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. Add the duck stock and reduce to a gravy-like consistency. Set aside until ready to use.

  7. Cut the large potatoes in half widthways, using a 3cm/1in round cutter cut out two cylinders from each potato.

  8. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan or a sauté pan and add a little vegetable oil. Stand the potato cylinders on end in the pan and gently fry until golden-brown on the underside. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring to the boil. When boiling, add the remaining garlic clove, thyme and butter and place into the oven until tender, about eight minutes.

  9. For the spice mix, blend all the ingredients in a food processor or spice grinder. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

  10. For the duck and vegetables, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  11. Place the duck breasts skin-side down in the spice mix and season generously with salt and pepper.

  12. Put a dry, ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the duck breasts skin-side down, the fat will render into the pan and start to cook the breasts. When the skin is golden-brown, turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

  13. Remove the duck from the frying pan and set aside to rest for at least five minutes.

  14. Heat a large pan of boiling water and blanch the vegetables for a few minutes then refresh in ice cold water.

  15. To serve, reheat the duck jus in a pan. Remove the vanilla pod and add the cherries.

  16. Heat a frying pan and add the butter, once melted add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. If the spinach catches on the pan add a little water.

  17. Melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan, add the baby vegetables and season with salt.

  18. Place a small amount of the wilted spinach in the centre of each serving plate and top with a fondant potato.

  19. Using a sharp knife cut the duck breasts in half lengthways, then cut each half into three to form nuggets. Arrange the duck around the fondant potato. Arrange the baby vegetables around the duck nuggets. Finally spoon the cherry jus around the dish. Garnish with baby beetroot cress and serve.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

Over 2 hours cooking time

Serves 2

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