Friday, June 12, 2009

Breast of duck with peach compote and chorizo

Serves 4

I love the depth and complexity of flavour in this dish with really only 3 principal ingredients. Rich and almost gamey Barbary duck is preferred with aromatic early summer peaches (white if you can get them) offset by some smoky spicy chorizo. By scoring the fat and cooking the duck breasts skin-side down, the fat is released into the pan and the skin will become crisp and have a beautiful colour. By throwing the chorizo into this fat to crisp up is the perfect way to get the best out of the sausage. Keep the duck fat which will be spiced and reddened by the chorizo - add a splash to your vinaigrette and save the rest to cook your roast potatoes in for sunday lunch.

50g butter
6 shallots, sliced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sherry vinegar
200ml port
100ml Madeira
2 large white peaches, stoned and sliced
4 Barbary duck breasts
100g chorizo, diced
150g pea shoots or watercress dressed with a splash of vinaigrette
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small heavy pan and cook the shallots until soft. Add the honey, five-spice and vinegar. Let the vinegar evaporate, and then add the port and Madeira. Boil until the mixture is thick and syrupy, and then add the peaches. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 7. Score the skin of the duck breast 3-4 times on each breast. Heat a large cast-iron pan without any oil, place the breast skin-side down in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Use a spatula to press the breasts down in the pan to ensure that the skin is cooked evenly all over.

Add the chorizo and transfer the pan to the preheated oven and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook for a further 4 minutes. Then remove from the oven, season well and allow to rest for 10 minutes, drain the chorizo of excess fat on some kitchen paper.

Carve each duck breast into eight slices. toss the chorizo through the pea shoots or watercress with the vinaigrette, and arrange on the centre of four warm plates. Place the duck on top and pop a spoonful of the peach compote on the side, serve immediately.