Monday, 15 July 2013

Duck Breast with Green Peppercorns

I'm not a bit fan of the fancy. I have no time for men in suits and ties unless they have a redeeming feature, like messy hair or a tie with tiny ducks in a row. In my opinion whimsy is the only thing that can save the fancy. 

The same goes for restaurants. It can't be all show- ingredients that I don't recognise, used to think of as cute pets and frankly, scare me, just don't go down well for no good reason. As with men in suits, I have met too many fancy restaurants which are just fancy and nothing else. This has, sadly, tainted my relationship with duck. And duck, let me tell you, is absolutely wonderful.

My cake magician friend Erin chose this dish from the Larousse to make for her boyfriend for Valentines Day, and it was just so romantic and sweet, I had to try it for Ralph. Of course with Ralph he had to watch me make it, photograph it, and then eat it slightly colder than he would have liked. Poor Ralph..

I loved the flavours in this dish- and it's so rare to have such wonderful depth with such a simple cooking method. The sauce was memorably amazing, and I loved this method of cooking rice like a risotto- it made it so much more interesting and tempting than the usual lump of white. I'll definitely be trying it again.

Duck Breasts with Green Peppercorns on a Bed of Rice

2 x duck breasts
125 ml chicken stock
1/2 cup Basmati rice
500 ml- 1 litre chicken stock
1 tblsp green peppercorns
60 ml cream

1) Heat up a small knob of butter with some oil in a heavy-based saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once it's hot, place the duck breast on it, skin side down. Turn the heat down to medium.
2) Let the breast stay breast side down for as long as possible. You want to cook as much of the fat under the skin off as possible, without burning the skin.
3) Turn the breast over and brown the underside of the breast. Then add chicken stock and the peppercorns. Cook until the breast is not quite medium, then take off the heat, add the cream and keep warm.
4) To make the rice, melt a tablespoon of butter in a small pot on a medium heat, add the rice, and fry it for about 2-3 minutes, giving it a nice sizzle.
5) Add about a cup of chicken stock.Cook until the stock has been absorbed, then add another cup. Once the second cup is absorbed, taste the rice for doneness. Now you keep adding cups of stock until the rice is done. Season to taste.
6) Serve this rich caramelised duck on top of the rice and pour a spoonful of sauce over the finished dish.  Enjoy at a candle lit dinner with wine and the person you love the most in the whole world.

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