This wonderfully constructed poached duck recipe from Paul Foster was showcased at the 2013 NSPCC ball. It features perfectly cooked duck, feathery light buckwheat and an unexpected cameo from good old Brussels sprouts.
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To start the dish, tightly seal each duck breasts in individual bags. Place into a water bath at 60°C for 40 minutes, remove and allow to cool
2 duck breasts, plump
Once the duck has cooled to room temperature, remove from the bag and gently remove the skin from the breast (being careful not to tear the flesh) and set aside
Cut the breast in half lengthways down the centre, wrap tightly in cling film and store in the fridge until required
Preheat the oven to 160˚C/gas mark 2
Place the skin on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cover with another piece of the same size. Weigh down with another baking sheet, press down and place in the oven for 20 minutes
Remove and drain on kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat until cool. Once cool, chop the skin - it should be crispy and easy to chop into small pieces - and keep in an airtight container until required
For the glaze, combine the soy, honey and red wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce to a glaze - similar in consistency to honey. Whisk in the chicken stock to thin out slightly and set aside at room temperature until required
200ml of soy sauce
100ml of red wine
2 tbsp of honey
400ml of brown chicken stock, reduced to 200ml
For the Brussels sprout purée, use a knife to remove a small part of the base of each sprout. Remove and reserve 2-3 of the nice, large outer leaves of each sprout. Place the leaves in boiling salted water for 20 seconds, then strain and refresh in iced water
400g of Brussels sprouts
Finely slice the remainder of the sprouts. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a high heat and add the sliced sprouts. Season with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes
50g of butter
Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the spinach. Transfer into a blender and, starting on a low speed, blitz for 20 seconds before increasing the speed to achieve a smooth, thick, spreadable purée
200ml of white chicken stock
100g of spinach, washed
Season the purée to taste, cover with a sheet of cling film so that it is in direct contact with the surface of the purée and refrigerate until required
To make a basic dressing for the sprout leaves, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon and rapeseed oil in a bowl and set aside
20ml of white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
50ml of rapeseed oil
For the apple, mix the sugar with 20ml of the water and thyme and bring to a golden brown caramel. Bring the remaining 50ml of water to the boil in a separate pan and then whisk into the caramel
100g of caster sugar
70ml of water
Peel and core the apple, cut into quarters and then cut into small, evenly sized wedges. Once the caramel has cooled, spoon into vacuum pack bags with the apple slices and thyme and seal tightly to compress the apple. Leave for approximately 2 hours in the fridge
1 Granny Smith apple
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Combine the puffed buckwheat and sugar in a pan. Place over a medium heat and, while stirring, slowly caramelise and candy the buckwheat. Pour onto a tray and allow to cool. Once cool and set, break up into small pieces
20g of buckwheat, puffed
20g of caster sugar
Before serving, remove the duck from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature. Brush with the glaze and sprinkle with a light coating of the duck crackling. Gently warm the sprout purée to a lukewarm temperature and spread onto the centre of each plate
Place the duck on top and add 3 slices of the apple and some of the lightly dressed sprout leaves. Garnish with a few pieces of the buckwheat and some watercress or chickweed. Lightly season with sea salt and serve immediately
2 2/3 handfuls of baby watercress, or chickweed
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