This is possibly the best tasting dish I’ve created to date! I found a recipe for Gordon Ramsay’s duck breast and tried to replicate the main components down to the dot (including the parsnip puree) while modifying some aspects (used tomatillo to add some balance to the sweet chutney).
The duck breast is a beautiful piece of meat. I really like cooking with it, and I think this is the best way to savor the cut. I’m not a huge fan of traditional Chinese BBQ duck and never knew duck breast could taste this awesome until I did this. I was so engrossed in cooking that I didn’t notice I got rendered duck fat (yum!) on the camera lens so some of the later photos are a bit smudgy. The recipe is modified from Red Online.
You will need:
- 2 duck breasts
- Fresh tomatillos
- Cranberry chutney
- Heavy cream
- Fresh milk
- Goat cheese
- Madeira wine
The duck breast needs to be scored for better cooking and I did three (3) quick and light incisions into the skin – barely hitting the meat below.
I did not use *any* butter or olive oil. I just slapped the duck breast skin side down on the pan and kept the heat consistent. You’ll be amazed by how much oil the skin produces!
The tasty skin from the duck breast renders into delicious duck fat. You can get an insane amount of the stuff – probably 6-7 tablespoons of duck fat from 2 medium breasts alone! There’s nothing quite like duck fat rendering – it smells positively mouth-watering.
I actually bought the tomatillos to make salsa verde but I thought it’ll be perfect to put an acidic twist, which was supposed to be from the zest and juice of an orange. The original recipe by Gordon Ramsay also calls for port and cranberry jelly which I substituted with Madeira wine and Cranberry Apple Chutney.
BTW, if you think that the tomatillos looks a lot like cape gooseberry (sold as physalis here) that’s coz they come from the same family!
The duck breasts are really easy to cook – after about 10 minutes on low heat with the skin side down, the fat has mostly rendered – flip them over and lightly brown the other side for a couple of minutes and leave it to rest.
The Madeira wine is used to deglaze the pan. It’s a cooking term that means “scrape the crap from your pan with a liquid while keeping the heat on and keep the liquid + crap”.
Meanwhile, I had cut my parsnips into small chunks, steamed them and peeled it to be ready for the food processor – in reverse order. Add some heavy cream and put it on high for a couple of seconds. I also added some fresh milk and then puréed the parsnips some more. You can make the parsnip puree creamier by sieving it though some fine mesh before serving.
Back to the sauce, I added chopped tomatillos, cranberry and apple chutney and Madeira wine to deglaze the pan. I let this bubble for about 10 minutes to extract the flavor from the tomatillos, tasted it and pronounced it good!
However, I thought it would be *better* with some butter so I put in a generous slice of butter and the Madeira jus was ready to be poured on top of the rested duck!
I sliced one duck breast for my dear and kept mine whole. I wanted my duck breast to be served on top of the Madeira jus with cranberry apple chutney and tomatillos so I plated my dish with the duck sitting on top of the sauce.
My dear wanted hers sliced so that’s what I did and spooned the sauce over the duck. I also added some salad and edible flowers in addition to the parsnip purée on the side. I’m told that this is my best dish to date and I quite like it as well!
The duck breast tastes deliciously rich and the sweet-acidic Madeira jus complements it perfectly. The parsnip purée is ingenious too since the dish would be way to heavy with potatoes. I’m really keen to cook this again, it’s surprisingly easy and the rendered duck fat can be kept and used for other things (they actually sell duck fat in some gourmet groceries).