- 4 small red onions
- 1 celeriac, weighing about 850g/1lb 14oz
The unsung hero of the vegetable world, knobbly, odd-shaped celeriac has a subtle, celery-like…
- 3 medium parsnips
The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise – it looks…
- 4 medium salsify (total weight about 400g/14oz) or baby turnips
A root vegetable belonging to the dandelion family, salsify is also known as the oyster plant…
- 125ml olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…
- 2 large bay leaves
- 2 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- 400ml red wine
- 2 tsp tomato purée
- 2 tsp truffle oil (optional, but nice)
- 1l chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 250g wild mushroom in season or baby chestnut button mushrooms
- 8 duck breasts, about 140-175g/5-6oz each
- about 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Basmati pilaff to serve
Peel and quarter the onions. Peel the celeriac, parsnips and salsify, then cut into 2cm dice or lengths (they needn’t be exact).
Heat half the oil in a large sauté pan or wok and stir fry the vegetables (except the mushrooms) for 15-20 minutes until softened and slightly caramelised. Add the rosemary, bay, star anise and wine and boil hard over a high heat until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato purée, truffle oil, if using, stock and seasoning and continue to boil hard, uncovered, until reduced by half again. Drain the vegetables into a colander over a large bowl, then pass the sauce through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Reserve vegetables and sauce separately.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and stir fry the mushrooms over a high heat for 5 minutes until nicely browned. Season and drain on paper towels.
Wipe out the pan, leaving it with a light oily film. Heat until very hot, then add the duck breasts, skin-side down. Add seasoning and leave them for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat so they brown. Turn them over and cook the other side for 3-4 more minutes until lightly springy to the touch. If you like your duck cooked more than this, you can leave the breasts for longer, but it will become tough if overcooked – so watch it.
Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes before slicing each breast into bite-size pieces. Reheat the vegetables by tossing them in the pan with 1 tablespoon duck fat, adding coriander and seasoning at the last moment. At the same time, simmer the sauce and taste for seasoning.
To serve, pile the vegetables in the centre of a warmed large platter, surround with the duck and top with mushrooms. Drizzle the sauce over and serve any extra separately.
Choosing the best duckChoose dark, full-flavoured duck such as Gressingham or Barbary. We used packets of Sainsbury’s Gressingham fillets, two breasts weighing a total of 300g/10oz, but if you buy large duck breasts, allow one between 2 servings.