Pan Fried Duck Breast with a Berry and Balsamic Reduction
So my partner took me out for a not-Valentines-Day-but-it’s-nice-to-go-out-for-a-meal, meal and we decided to head to Bistro Jacques in Shrewsbury which is classed as a rustic French restaurant.
We both decided to go for a duck option on the menu. My main was a Gessingham Duck Breast, pan fried, with mash, vegetables in a Blackberry and balsamic reduction. It was so nice! I also got to admit the side of Pork Crackling was pretty wicked. I wish my teeth weren’t so weak so I could fully enjoy eating them.
I enjoyed this meal so much that I decided I had to recreate it at home for the times when I can’t afford to splash out but really want to indulge.
I popped out for lunch during work in the week and saw that the duck was on offer so two packs bought (one for the freezer for that rainy indulgent day) I headed home and got cooking.
Ingredients: (serves 2 with a bit left over for lunch the next day)
- 2 Gessingham Duck Breasts
- 4/5 large potatoes (Extra mashed potatoes for leftovers or for other recipes)
- 250g blackberries
- 120ml balsamic vinegar
- 40g brown sugar
- 240ml vegetable stock
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 2 shallots – minced
- Carrots / beans / peas / spinach
Heat up a bit of oil in a small pan and fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant. When they soften and start to get a bit colour add the balsamic vinegar and reduce down by half.
In the meantime, peel, wash and cut up the potatoes (I use the trusty Maris Piper or Red Rooster depending what’s in the house) and put them in a pan to boil for the mash.
While you’re at it, put another pot of water on the boil to steam some vegetables. If I had spinach at hand I would have that as a layer between the mash and meat as it just compliments it nicely in taste and texture.
Add the Blackberries, stock and brown sugar to the balsamic reduction. Cook and reduce down by half again.
Time to get the duck cooking. Pat dry and score the skin. Either pan fry it for the duration or sear and pop in the oven as per packet instructions. I can’t be arsed with that faff so I just pan fry it. No need to add any oil to the pan due to the fat in the skin. Cook on both sides for between 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your meat cooked. Medium cooked duck is fantastic, it’s like a steak but nicer! All these years of just eating duck that has been cooked to a really well done state has stopped me from truly appreciating this.
Going back to the sauce, season with salt and pepper and simmer until ready.
Once the potatoes are cooked put it through a potato ricer to get it super smooth. I can’t afford a potato ricer and nor do I have the space for one, so I just use my trusty metal sieve (£1.50 from the Local Shop and versitile too). Once this is done, put back on the stove, add milk, butter and season if you wish.
The duck should be ready about now. Take off the heat and place meat to rest on a chopping board.
Grab plates and serve up. I would normally put the reduction through a small sieve to ensure that you’re not spending your meal time chewing pips. I however forgot this time round but it still tasted great!