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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Roast duck in port & cream sauce

Duck is one of my favourite meats, but because our little Sainsbury's is so close, it often means we get a bit lazy and just stick with the boring selection they have. Last night we put in the effort short extra 5 minute walk and went to Waitrose for something a bit different. 
I sort of made this recipe up. It's an extremely decadent and rich meal, (which had had me eating smoothies and plain soup today to save my stomach) but definitely worth it.

You will need (serves 2)
2 duck legs (breast would also work, but keep the skin on when you roast)
Panchetta cubes 
Shallots - 3 or 4
Pack button mushrooms
Small pot single cream
Port (brandy would probably also work)
Parsley (handful so not a whole bunch)
Bag washed spinach 
Salt, pepper
English mustard

So, I chose to serve the dish with thick and creamy mash, so begin by peeling all your potatoes and putting them onto boil. Luckily I had a little helper with this part.
At the same time, pop your duck legs into a hot oven - it said on the packet these would take 90 minutes to cook, but ours were ready 10 minutes earlier - duck is better slightly pink.

Next chop your button mushrooms into halves - if you like them whole then leave them as is, but ours were a little too large for the sauce. 

Peel and finely chop your shallots - these will give your sauce a lovely subtle hint of garlic, as well as the depth of onion.

By now, your duck legs will be giving off some of their lovely fat from the skin (told you it was cholesterol surprise!) Tip off some of this excess juice into a pan to make the sauce. The duck goes back into the oven while you gently fry the mushrooms, panchetta and shallots until they are soft and have a soft caramel colour to them.

Add a little water to the mix, and simmer. Now the good part - put in a few generous glugs of the port. It's a beautiful purple grape colour and will add bags of flavour. Simmer a bit more, and add your single cream and a handful of chopped parsley. Stir a little and allow it all to thicken up a bit.

The potatoes should be nice and soft now, so drain and add lashings of milk and butter. Mash can be pretty bland, so don't be afraid of a good sprinkle of black pepper and salt. You can jazz it up with olive oil and herbs, but this time I didn't. The fail safe secret ingredient is always a dollop of English mustard - it's adds a slight tang to your mash, but doesn't overpower it. 

Quickly wilt down a bag of washed spinach in another pan, and when it's soft and dark, remove and serve on your plate with a big spoon of the mash. Whack a bit of heat into your sauce which has been sitting, and give it a good stir. 
Take your duck out the oven and pour over the creamy port reduction. Pure perfection!

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