Duck with quince, endive and candied orange

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A complex recipe, but one that perfectly showcases how sweet flavours work so well with duck. Candied orange, a rich cider and honey sauce and a port and quince purée make fantastic accompaniments to the duck breast and confit leg meat, with the flavours of Chinese five-spice running throughout. The raw dressed endive adds a pleasing bitterness.

There are a good few elements to this dish, but the purée, leg meat, endive, orange peel and sauce can all be made in advance, so if you're well organised then it won't mean spending hours in the kitchen on the day you serve up!

First published in 2020





Barbecue sauce

Honey and cider sauce

Quince puree

Candied orange

  • 2 1/2 oranges
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 200ml of water
  • 15g of liquid glucose
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  • 100ml of white balsamic vinegar
  • 60ml of olive oil, ideally infused with orange
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 endive, small or baby

To serve


  • Blender
  • Thermometer
  • Vacuum bag and machine


Kerth steams the duck crowns for 3 minutes before chilling, rubbing with the five-spice and leaving them to dry out in the fridge for 5 days, but at home you can shorten this process by rubbing the crowns with five-spice then leaving them uncovered in the fridge for 8 hours
At the same time, combine the rock salt, sugar, garlic, thyme and rosemary and rub this all over the reserved duck legs. Leave to cure in the fridge for 8 hours
The next day, carve the breasts off the duck crowns and set aside in the fridge to cook later. Reserve the duck carcasses for the sauce
Rinse the legs with cold water and pat dry, then place into a small saucepan and cover with duck fat. Gently cook the legs for 3-4 hours until the meat is soft – try not to let the fat exceed 80°C
While the legs confit, make the sauce. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the carcasses until golden all over. Drain off any excess fat, then add the carrot, leek, garlic and shallots. Cook for around 5 minutes, then add the thyme, five-spice and white wine. Simmer until reduced by three-quarters. Once reduced, add the chicken stock and simmer for 2 hours
While the sauce simmers away, make the quince purée. Place the bay leaves, juniper berries and star anise in a muslin bag, then add this to a saucepan with the quince, red wine, port, sugar, red cabbage and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half
Discard the bag of spices and transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Add the lemon juice and oil, then blitz until smooth. Set aside in the fridge
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 150ml of pomace oil (1)
Cut the endives in half and trim them if needed. Place in vacuum bags with the vinegar, oil and thyme, then compress. Set aside at room temperature
  • 4 endive, small or baby
  • 100ml of white balsamic vinegar
  • 60ml of olive oil, ideally infused with orange
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
To make the candied orange, peel the oranges and scrape any white pith off the peelings. Cut the orange peel into julienned strips, then place in a small saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil, strain, then return to the pan with fresh cold water and bring to the boil once again. Repeat this process until you have blanched the peel a total of 6 times – this removes the bitterness of the orange peel
Add the sugar, water, glucose and blanched orange peel to a pan and place over a medium heat. Cook until the syrup reaches 112°C, then remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and leave the peel to cool in the syrup
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 200ml of water
  • 15g of liquid glucose
  • 1 lemon, juiced
By this point, the sauce should have been simmering for 2 hours. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan and add the cider, honey and elderflower cordial. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half, or until you have a nice sauce consistency. Balance the flavour with the sherry vinegar, check for seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve
  • 250ml of cider
  • 30g of honey
  • 30ml of elderflower cordial
  • 30ml of sherry vinegar
Once the legs have cooked, allow them to cool down in the duck fat. Mix all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce together, then once the legs are cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones and mix with the barbecue sauce (you will not need all the sauce – just enough to bind the meat together). Set aside until ready to serve
To cook the duck breasts, place them skin-side down in a cold frying pan. Place over a medium heat and cook for around 4 minutes, until the fat renders and the skin crisps up. Turn the breasts over and cook for another 3 minutes, or slightly more if you don’t like pink duck, then season and leave to rest for 5 minutes
While the duck rests, blanch the kale leaves in salted boiling water for 30 seconds and briefly warm the vacuum-packed endive by placing it – still in the bag – in boiling or hot water for a few seconds (the endive doesn’t need to be hot, just warmed through). Gently reheat the duck leg meat and quince purée, and ensure you have all the other elements you need to plate the dish to hand
To serve, slice the duck breasts lengthways and place a half on the left-hand side of each plate. Add 2 spoonfuls of duck leg meat into the centre of the plate, then place a kale leaf over the top. Drain the warmed endive from the vacuum bag and place a half on top of each kale leaf, then drape over some strips of candied orange peel. Place a spoonful of quince purée to the right of the plate, then finish the dish with the honey and cider sauce

Kerth Gumbs' years of experience in top kitchens and playful, creative approach to fine dining make him one of the capital's most exciting chefs.

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