Try this Indian-inspired dish of crisp-skinned duck breasts with a flavoursome roasted vegetable rice dish for two.
400g/14oz basmati rice
3 tbsp ghee
7 shallots, 1 thinly sliced, 6 roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed to split the pod open
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks
4 new potatoes, cut in half if large
200g/7oz butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
For the chunky vegetable pilau, preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9. Put the basmati rice in a saucepan of boiling, salted water,, according to packet instructions.
While the rice is cooking, heat the ghee in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the sliced shallot, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Fry for five minutes, or until the shallots are softened and golden-brown, then stir the contents of the pan into the rice as it cooks.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and par-boil the parsnip and potatoes together for three minutes. Remove the parsnips and drain. Continue to boil the potatoes for a further three minutes, then drain.
Tip the parsnip and potatoes into a roasting tin with the butternut squash, chopped shallots, whole garlic cloves, cumin seeds and ground cumin. Toss together and season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the roasting tin in aluminium foil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and golden-brown in places.
Gently fold the roasted vegetables into the cooked rice, taking care not to mash up the rice or the vegetables. Keep warm.
For the duck, season the duck with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then rub with the olive oil.
Place a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the duck, skin-side-down, for 5-6 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Add the whole garlic cloves, turn the duck over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until cooked but still pink in the middle. Transfer the duck to a warm plate and set aside to rest. Discard the garlic and reserve the pan juices in the pan.
For the plum-berry sauce, put the berries and the plum into a small saucepan with the sugar, chilli and 100ml/3½fl oz water. Place over a medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break down the fruit.
Strain through a sieve into the pan used to fry the duck, mixing it with any pan juices. Place over a medium-high heat and stir in the orange juice, followed by the chicken stock and butter. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until reduced to a gravy-like consistency. Stir in the orange zest just before serving.
To serve, carve the duck breasts into thin slices and arrange on warm serving plates with the pilau alongside. Spoon the plum berry sauce over the duck and scatter with some toasted pine nuts. Serve with baby carrots.
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