Seared duck breasts with orange and chilli glaze, served with kale (and a rather delicious red wine…)

30 Jul

The last time I cooked duck was with my dad (who is an amazing cook) sometime over Christmas, for a rather fancy dinner party. When I say ‘I cooked duck’, what I really mean is that my dad told me exactly what to do while I plonked the duck here and there and somehow it miraculously ended up on the plate looking rather professional. But I’ve avoided it since……….so when the local shop was doing a 3 for £10 offer on a load of meat, I picked up the duck, put it in the basket, and walked off before I had a chance to put it back. So why was I so reluctant? Simply because meat is expensive. In fact, it can be VERY expensive, and I’ve not had a lot of experience in cooking much other than chicken, so I am always terrified that I’ll ruin it and it will all end up in the bin, along with the receipt and my eyeballs registering £££ signs.

Time to face the fear I reckon.

Whenever I have had duck it has either been Asian style, shredded in pancakes, or served with a deep dark fruit and red wine sauce, so I thought I’d try something different. I found a recipe for roasted duck fillets with a marmalade glaze, but having cooked with my dad I knew that it would be important to try and sizzle off as much fat as possible before sticking the duck breasts in the oven, so I slightly adapted the recipe. I decided that as I was trying something new I may as well go the whole hog and cook some new vegetable too; kale it was. I’ve never cooked kale but I’ve heard many talk of its superfood status. It’s packed full of antioxidants,vitamins A (good for bones, teeth and vision), C (skin, ligaments, and immune system) and K (essential for normal blood clotting) amongst others, and is a great source of fibre as well as being low in calories. Many studies have noted its use as a great cancer fighting veg, in addition to suggesting it may have anti-inflammatory properties. So, it seems like a good’un. Duck…well, let’s face it, duck’s probably a bit naughty. But it does have health benefits; it’s high in protein, and is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. So put together, I think it’s quite a balanced dinner option!

A little note: whilst I did really enjoy this dish it is quite light and the flavours can be quite delicate. I must admit I do prefer the deeper flavours which come through in some of the red wine and darker fruit sauces, and would be inclined to try using them in future. That said, the dish is wonderfully light on a warm summer day and probably also relatively healthier than some of the heavier options. Additionally it’s something very easy to put together with ingredients you probably have in your cupboards already. PD wasn’t a particular fan of the kale as it can be a little bland, so next time I’m going to try sauteeing it with a bit of onion and garlic to try and give it a bit more of a lift.

Recipe (serves 2)

  • 2 duck breasts, skin on
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp seville orange marmalade
  • Pinch crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 orange
  • 100g kale, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 220C (or 200C for a fan oven)

2. Make up the glaze by mixing the marmalade, the juice of half an orange, the pinch of chilli flakes and sherry vinegar in a bowl and set aside.

3. Score the skin side of the duck breasts in a criss-cross fashion and season with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down into a preheated frying pan on a medium heat. You really don’t need to add anything to the pan, enough fat will be generated by the skin! If you’re like me and prefer to get rid of as much fat as possible, keep draining the fat into a little bowl throughout cooking.

4. Cook skin-side down for around 6 minutes until the skin is brown, adding a little of the glaze to the pan, and then seal the non-skin side for about 30 seconds.

5. Place the duck skin-side down in a roasting dish and spoon over around 3/4 of the glaze. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes (rare), 12 minutes (medium) or 16 minutes (well-done), and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. A note here, I like mine rare and 8 minutes plus resting time was more like medium, so it might be worth knocking a minute off the cooking time. Have a look at the cooking guidelines on the pack.

6. While the duck is resting, fill a large pan with 1cm of water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the kale and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and is cooked through.

7. Add the left over glaze to a small pan and heat it through. Drain the kale well and serve onto plates, slice the duck breast and arrange on the plate, drizzle with the warmed glaze and serve with a couple of wedges of orange.

A note on ‘resting’: when PD taught me how to cook steak properly I used to get very grumpy that we had to wait for 5-10 minutes when the steak looked like it was ready to eat. In my mind my dinner was sat on the work surface getting cold when it should be on my fork and entering my mouth. I’ve learned to appreciate the value of resting; it ensures that the meat has time to cook through evenly and also means that the juices somehow magically stay in the meat instead of running all over the plate (I’ll find out the science behind this for you in another post). It’s worth it.

A note on wine: we enjoyed a couple of glasses of a 2009 red Chilean blend from the Colchagua valley. It’s a delicious wine, fruity, with lots of ripe red fruits and berries, and a healthy pinch of spiciness and soft tannins. To be honest it had a bit too much of a complicated and intense character to match the more delicate flavours which came through in this dish, so if you’re looking for a matching wine I’d personally choose a lighter red.


5 Responses to “Seared duck breasts with orange and chilli glaze, served with kale (and a rather delicious red wine…)”

  1. eatdrinkplaylondon July 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I love kale – I sautee it with loads of garlic, a knob of a butter, salt, pepper and some chillI flakes and it’s delish. recipe sounds scrummy – I rarely cook duck too but will try and pick up some soon to try your recipe!!

    • DrinksAndNibbles July 31, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Yum! I will definitely try that next time, it really did need something added to it. The chilli flakes would work really well with this recipe too! x

  2. # September 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Food (especially meat) is too cheap –

    • DrinksAndNibbles September 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Whilst that may be the case in the US – I’d be interested to see whether such findings could be extrapolated to the UK, and in particular, London. I don’t necessarily think we can be so general in such statements, because I have seen the mark up on many foods in large cities in the UK, which often come and go with particular trends (and indeed, unfortunate weather conditions providing much smaller yields, for which the higher price is only fair). Additionally ‘expense’ and ‘cheapness’ is incredibly subjective, based upon how much money one has access to.

      Could it also be argued that the reduction in price between ’82 and ’12 is only alluding to the extremes? For example, the highest quality mince a few years ago versus the lowest quality mince today? Without seeing the actual stats, or the way in which the data has been collected, it is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusion from this. It is true that we have more choice and cheaper options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those cheaper options are good options (especially when one considers how certain cheap ‘meats’ are actually manufactured).

      Perhaps in the developed world it would be fair to suggest that we expect more for less, however it could also be argued that we need more for less, because the majority of us have very little left to spend once rent, bills, tuition fees, schooling, insurance, tax, national insurance and the seemingly never ending list which continues, has been paid for.

      I believe it is a slightly blinkered approach for one to simply suggest that ‘food is too cheap’, especially when there are so many people who are struggling to afford to put food on the table.


  1. Seared Duck with Smoky Savoy Cabbage | DrinksAndNibbles - March 13, 2013

    […] occasion for myself and Pat. After the delicious scallops, I chose to try cooking duck again! Last time I wasn’t overly taken with the recipe I used, but this one from Good Food (original recipe here) had good reviews, and was one of the […]

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