Seared Duck with Smoky Savoy Cabbage

13 Mar

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I cooked up a bit of an indulgent treat for a special 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 slightly healthier recipes available so I thought I’d give it a go.

Although being a slightly more of a fatty meat than other meats like chicken (but surprisingly not by much at all if you don’t eat the skin), duck is an excellent source of iron, protein and B vitamins. Importantly, most B vitamins can only be obtained from the diet, so duck is a great idea to make sure your stores are well-plenished. My advice? Don’t eat the skin, and you’ll be grand!

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Bizarrely I seem to have come this far in life without cooking cabbage! Cabbage is a fabulously nutritious vegetable: high in antioxidants, full of anti-inflammatory properties annnnnd even has cancer fighting properties. Savoy cabbage is wonderful – smoky flavours made ever more tasty with the somewhat mischievous addition of some smoked bacon, and ridiculously easy to prepare.

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The dish turned out beautifully, and with a little artistic flair I managed to plate it up looking as though it was something actually quite impressive (*smug face* *sigh of relief*). It was made all the easier because it essentially used only one pan, cutting down on the washing up (because let’s be honest, who likes washing up?!). The cooking times are really accurate, and I only made a couple of little tweaks to try and reduce the amount of rendered fat that I was cooking things in.

This is a great option if you’re looking for something a bit special, and a bit different to something you’d eat everyday. I like to prepare everything in advance and have everything ready to cook for when we’ve finished the starter.

Recipe (serves 2)

2 duck breasts
1 tsp cracked black pepper
600g cooked new potatoes , thickly sliced
Handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 Savoy cabbage, cored and finely sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

– Lightly score the skin of the duck breasts diagonally, then rub in the cracked pepper peppercorns and a pinch or two of of salt.

– Gently heat a non stick pan over a low/medium flame and place the duck breasts, skin-side down, in a large non-stick frying pan. Leave it for 15 mins until golden brown and it has released a good deal of fat, then flip over onto the flesh side for 5 mins.

– Remove the duck from the pan and place on a preheated plate, cover with foil to keep warm, then turn up the heat. Add the potatoes to the pan, and fry until brown and crispy. Scatter over the parsley and garlic, then take out with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl lined with kitchen paper (to remove excess fat) and season with salt.

– Pour off some of the juices/fat into a little jug at this stage, to make the sauce later (alternatively, you could use just 1-2 tbsp duck fat for the sauce, and substitute with olive oil). If you prefer, pour it all off, wipe it with some kitchen paper and add a little butter to the pan. Fry the bacon until crisp, then add the cabbage. Cook for 1 min, add a splash of water, then cook for another 2 mins, until the cabbage is wilted.

– While the cabbage is cooking, mix any of the juices you put to one side from the duck with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Slice the duck and arrange onto your preheated plates, pile a load of cabbage on one side, and a heap of potatoes on the other. Drizzle over your dressing and serve alongside a scrummy red wine. Delicious, impressive, and pretty straightforward!

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