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This dish is great with any game birds, duck, wood pigeon etc and if you're not a fan of spinach you
could substitute savoy cabbage quite easily.
2-4 Gressingham duck breasts, skin on
4-8 slices of pancetta, cut into cubes
200g baby spinach, washed and chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
750ml chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed, skin on
2 sprigs of thyme
small bunch of sage
1. For the veloute, place the diced squash, thyme and garlic into a pan and cover with the chicken stock reserving around 50ml. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a knife.
2. Once the squash is soft, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a blender, pour in a little of the stock to loosen and blitz to a smooth puree, add the butter and blitz again, this will turn the sauce velvet, keep the remaining stock.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and lay skin side down in a non-stick ovenproof pan over a medium heat. After around 2 minutes the fat from the skin will begin to render out, turn the heat up full until the skin begins to turn golden brown, quickly flip the breast onto the flesh side for 30 seconds to seal and turn back onto the skin. Place in the oven for 8 minutes (rare) 12 minutes (medium rare) 15 minutes (medium) 20 minutes (well done).
4, Once the duck is cooked remove from the pan and set on a warm plate to rest. Using the same pan which will now have the duck fat left in it, set it over a high heat and add the pancetta and sage, fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, drain on kitchen paper.
5. For the spinach, add the 50ml of chicken stock to a pan and set over a high heat, once bubbling add the spinach and grate a little nutmeg over to season, add salt and pepper and once slightly wilted remove from the heat.
6. To serve, set the spinach in the middle of the plate, use a round cutter if you like. Slice the duck and fan the slices over the spinach, pour the veloute around the spinach and sprinkle over the sage and pancetta.