Duck with Potato Puree and Quince Jelly Sauce

Duck with quince jelly and potato puree

And so, another weekend flies by and with it, Sunday afternoon. This part of the week was traditionally a bit of a departure lounge at the end of a holiday for me – waiting patiently for the return flight to Monday morning.

In the Frankly household of late though I’ve tried to fight off the dreariness as I attempt, and I use that word advisedly, something I have neither the time nor inclination to piece together in the week. I’m not sure this really fits that bill, but it was something new.

I had some duck breasts in the fridge and (sticking to a theme from a couple of posts ago) some quince jelly. I remember reading somewhere that these go together pretty cosily, as duck can be paired with pretty much any sharp tasting fruit and so decided to incorporate into a sauce.

My minor obsession experiments with purees continues, my apologies, but I’d never actually made a potato puree before (or should I say pomme puree – this dish has a decidedly French tone) so thought I’d give it a go.

I pan fried the duck to keep it nice and rare. Well-done duck breast should be outlawed under some EU treaty in my opinion, but have had it in some over-anxious restaurants probably concerned more with keeping its punters out of the bathroom.

The sauce was a reduction made with the pan/resting juices, some red wine (a nice Shiraz  – full of berries), chicken stock and the quince jelly.

For the potato puree, I must admit, I think I over-worked it a bit and it was a bit gluey, not bad by any stretch, but more like “C+, good effort”. Schoolboy error.

  • 2 duck breasts at room temperature
  • About 10 button mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil

For the potato puree:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • About 150ml warm milk (enough to make a loose puree)
  •  Butter – to taste or as your waistline dictates 😉
  • Salt

For the sauce:

  • 200ml good ‘fruity’ red wine (I used Shiraz)
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • About two tbsp quince jelly
  • Salt
  • Steamed Cauliflower and Broccoli to serve

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Start by getting the potatoes on to boil. Once simmering away, get on with the rest…

Get a metal pan smoking hot with just a little oil. Rub the duck breasts with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. Place in the pan, skin side down, to coat in oil. Leave to cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes. It releases an alarming amount of oil, but don’t worry, it won’t all be in the final dish.

After ten minutes, flip them and cook to other side(s) until well seared all over for 3 or 4 minutes – this will leave them nice and pink in the middle.

As soon as I flipped them I actually added the vegetables to steam for a few minutes in a steamer insert over the potatoes. Saves washing up and energy!

Before the end of cooking the duck, the potatoes/vegetables will probably be done, if they are, drain the potatoes and leave in the hot pan to dry a bit, but place the steamed vegetables to keep warm in an oven.

Remove the duck breasts and leave to rest in the warm oven (80C) on a plate. Fry off the mushrooms for a few minutes until tender in the duck fat and then set aside with the duck in the oven.

Pour out most of the fat, being careful to leave in any caramelised bits and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Pour it into a small saucepan and reduce rapidly for a few minutes with the chicken stock. Add the quince jelly and any resting juices from the well rested duck and season to taste.

I thickened it slightly with arrowroot, but it’s not essential. Finish the sauce with a knob of butter for taste and shine.

Lastly use a potato ricer (best – but a masher will do) to mash the potato. Microwave the milk to warm it through for 30secs to 1 min and pour it in with the butter. Stir well to make a puree and season to taste. Don’t overwork it like I did, stir gently.

Sliced duck breast

Slice the duck at a nice ‘cheffy’ angle. Plate it all up on very hot plates and pour over the sauce. Enjoy with a large glass of Shiraz. Salut!

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Triple Cooked Oxtail and Sweet Potato Rosti

Oxtail Sweet Potato RostiWell Ok, we nearly finished pescetarian January with integrity intact but I couldn’t resist this once I got the idea. To be fair though I think we both agreed, that meat free meals will feature a lot more in our week. If anything, it will save us some money. In the UK meat, or rather, good quality meat is becoming increasingly expensive. I avoid the cheapest supermarket alternatives wherever possible as I’ve seen the factory-like breeding and processing that goes on and it doesn’t sit well with me personally. So the answer? Buy better, buy locally and eat less of it I say.

But anyway, I’ll step off this soapbox and moral high-horse (burger) and get on with it.

Over Christmas I made some miniature oxtail pasties as a kind of canapé when everyone came over. As tends to happen in the Food Frankly household, I made waaay too much and froze most of the filling for a rainy day. Digging through the freezer today I came across it and immediately the cogs started spinning….

In fact, everything else in this dish was found rummaging in the fridge and I allowed myself to feel a little smug about that. Considering the amount we spent on “restaurant week” though it’s largely misplaced, but small victories eh?

Quite a lot went into this, so I won’t write it all down here, I think I might try and post the individual elements in their own right over this coming week. It actually tasted great, I was pleased with this dish. It had just the right combination of flavour and texture and the oxtail, if anything, had improved in flavour. The presentation wasn’t the best but it’s not my strength to be honest and I’m working on it!

Sprout tops

Basically though oxtail had been roasted, then braised in stock for a few hours. I picked the meat out and blended it it with a little stock and Worcestershire sauce to make the pasty filling. I froze the excess and I simply defrosted what was left and cooked it using cooking rings to keep the shape in a hot pan, finishing them off in the oven.

I did virtually the same for the rosti to cut down of the oil used and it also worked out pretty well:

Sweet potato and carrot rosti