Duckling breast, duck 'straws' with spicy red cabbage, baby turnips and mead syrup


For the spicy red cabbage
For the duckling breasts
  • 25g/1oz duck fat

  • 2 duckling breasts, trimmed and skin scored

For the duck 'straws'
For the baby turnips
For the duck sauce
For the mead syrup
  • 200ml/7fl oz mead

Preparation method

  1. For the spicy red cabbage, place the red cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Mix well to coat in the salt, then set aside for 4 hours. Rinse under cold water to wash the salt off, then set aside until needed.

  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

  3. For the duckling breast, heat an ovenproof frying pan until hot and add the duck fat. When the fat has melted, add the duckling breasts skin-side down and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden-brown. Drain off the fat, turn the duckling breast over and roast in the oven for 7-8 minutes, or until golden-brown all over but still slightly pink in the middle. Set aside to rest.

  4. For the duck 'straws', mix together the confit duck meat, duck fat, green peppercorns and salt in a bowl.

  5. Lay the spring roll wrappers on a chopping board and cut each in half lengthways. Mix the flour in a bowl with the water to make a thick paste. Brush down the long side of one end of the sheet with the flour paste.

  6. Spoon the duck mixture along the length of the wrapper and roll up, crimping the ends together to seal. Repeat with the remaining spring roll wrappers and duck mixture.

  7. Half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with vegetable oil and heat until a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 30 seconds (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Deep fry the duck 'straws' for 1-2 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.

  8. For the spicy red cabbage, heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan and add the drained shredded cabbage. Fry for 2 minutes, or until softened slightly but not coloured.

  9. Push the cabbage to one side of the pan and add the icing sugar to the other side. Once the sugar has melted and begins to caramelise, add the sherry, white wine vinegar, ginger and chilli and mix in the cabbage. Fry for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Set aside.

  10. For the baby turnips, place all of the baby turnip ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the turnips are tender but slightly crunchy. Drain and set aside.

  11. For the duck sauce, melt the butter in a pan until foaming, then add the shallots and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the mead and cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by two-thirds, then add the chicken stock and cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.

  12. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, place back into the pan and whisk in the butter over a medium heat. Keep warm.

  13. For the mead syrup, place the mead into a small saucepan and simmer gently over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced to about 50ml/2fl oz and is thick and syrupy.

  14. To serve, divide the spicy red cabbage among 4 serving plates. Carve the duckling breasts in half lengthways and arrange a piece on top of each portion of cabbage. Lay two duck 'straws' against the duck and cabbage, spoon the baby turnips alongside and drizzle the duck sauce over the duck and around the plate. Finish by drizzling the mead syrup over the duck.

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