More duck?! So sue me, I love eating duck. It’s definitely been the bird of choice this winter. I generally love all poultry, but duck is so rich in flavour, so receptive to marinades and so easily available that it has featured heavily in this winters cooking.
One of the things that I love about cooking birds is the variety of textures and flavours possible with each. Take duck, as we’re talking about that. The breast is tender and gentle with lovely tender skin coasting a slim layer of bouncy delicious fat. Cooked properly with the fat rendered out slowly, you’ll get a gentle slightly crispy skin and tender pink flesh. The legs are wonderful slow roasted so that the skin is super crispy and the meat dark and falling off the bone. The flavour is intense and rich, and ok it’s fatty, but so what? As long as you’re not eating them every day, you’ll be ok.
Duck loves fruit, duck loves spice. Hey! So do I. We can be a kitchen dream team. I have been experimenting a lot with it, and have a host of new recipes, including a new favourite recipe which I have made 3 times this week, seeing how it worked with legs and breast and playing with the spicing. A slow cooked roast leg was lovely, but the breast, which has the bonus of cooking really quickly, was much better for me.
I love it and I hope you do too. There are a lot of ingredients but they all contribute and don’t let them put you off, it’s easy peasy, just make sure you take the time to marinade it. The cooking time for the duck will depend on the size of the breast, cut into it to see if unsure, you want it to be pink.
Soy & Spice Marinaded Duck Breast
The marinade will cover 4 breasts in an dish that fits them compactly or a freezer bag
75ml soy sauce
50 ml rice wine
2 tbsp honey
3 star anise
1 red chilli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in pieces
sea salt & black pepper
4 x duck breast, rinsed, and wiped dry
Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade, season with S&P to taste. Bash them about a little with a rolling pin or pestle to get the flavours talking to each other.
Slash the duck breast at intervals of a cm or so just to the skin, but not through it.
Cover the duck with the marinade in a compact dish or a freezer bag and rub it in with your fingers. Marinade for as long as possible, at least 2 hours if you can, or over night.
Wipe the marinade from the duck breast and fry on a low to medium heat, skin side down for 8-10 minutes or so, to render most of the fat out and crisp the skin. No oil is necessary, there’s lots of fat in the duck already.
When the skin is crisped slightly (it won’t go like roast skin but will go gently crisp) turn over and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for a further 5 minutes or so, until breast is still light pink but cooked. Let rest for a couple of minutes.
Serve sliced on top of stir fried pak choi or noodles fried with a little sesame oil, coriander and spring onion.