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Duck is without doubt my favourite meat and one of the most versatile, it is expensive but well worth it if prepared right. This recipe uses the breast with sweet butternut squash and earthy red wine with a buttery fondant, hungry yet? Please read on...
2 Gressingham duck breasts
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced, trimmings reserved
2-3 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of thyme
1 litre chicken stock
150ml red wine, ideally cabernet sauvignon with fruit notes
1 bay leaf
1 large Maris Piper potato, peeled and sliced horizontally
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. For the fondant potatoes, slice the oval ends of the potato halves clean at both ends to create a rectangular shape. Heat the butter, olive oil and 1 sprig of thyme in an ovenproof frying pan and place the potatoes in, fry on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and add 2 garlic cloves and 200ml chicken stock, place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
2. For the butternut squash, place the diced squash in a pan with 400ml of the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the squash is easily pierced with a knife, lift the squash out of the stock using a slotted spoon and into a blender. Blitz to a smooth puree, you may need to add a touch of the stock to help to break down the squash, pass through a sieve into a clean pan, keep warm.
3. For the red wine sauce, add a dash of oil to a pan and set over a medium heat, add the shallots, garlic, thyme sprig, bay leaf and squash trimmings to the pan and sautee for 3-5 minutes until browned, add the red wine and increase the heat. Reduce by two thirds and then add the remaining stock, keep the heat high and reduce again until you have a glossy sauce, check for seasoning and keep warm.
4. For the duck, preheat the oven to 200C and season the breasts with salt and pepper, lay skin side down in an ovenproof frying pan and set over a moderate heat, as the fat begins to render increase the heat until the skin begins to brown. Turn the duck onto the flesh side and seal for 30 seconds, place the duck back onto it's skin and place in the oven for 12 minutes for pink duck or 18 for well done. Rest for 10 minutes once the duck is cooked.
5. To assemble, place the puree into a squeezy bottle and pipe decorative tears onto the plate, add the fondant in the middle and top with slices of the duck, drizzle over the red wine sauce and serve.