And so on to our main course for Nom Nom Nom – duck with gooseberry sauce, fondant potatoes and rainbow chard. This is where we nearly ran into trouble when shopping for ingredients. Lizzie had spotted some duck breasts in Marylebone farmers market, but at £10 for two, they were going to send us seriously over budget (we needed to make 4 portions of each dish). A mad dash around Waitrose turned up nowt as we just stood there, staring blankly at the space where duck breasts should be…”Sorry” said the sales assistant. I think he thought we might be about to cry. We hot footed it back to the market and decided to buy three for £15 – they were proper beasts and once sliced served 4 easily.
We rendered the fat from the duck and used it to fry our potatoes – be rude not to, really. Mmm, duck fat. We then gave them a good sprinkling of chopped rosemary, slung in some bashed garlic, filled the pan with stock and a generous wadge of butter, then covered and let them simmer away on the hob until silky, buttery and aromatic on the inside – the tops still crispy from the duck fat frying.
To continue our fruity theme we chose a gooseberry sauce to go with the duck. They are bang in season and the tart fruit cuts through the richness of the duck perfectly. So, think rare slices of meat, crispy fat on top, tangy gooseberry sauce (lightly spiced with cloves) on the side, dreamy fondant potatoes and a little bed of rainbow chard, wilted in the fondant potato juices at the last minute. I’m actually in danger of dribbling a little bit just thinking about it. If you are too then please vote for The Go Go Gin Girls HERE!
Duck with Gooseberry Sauce
1 duck breast
A knob of butter
2 medium sized floury potatoes
A glug of white wine
A pinch of ground cloves
Sugar, to taste
Half a bulb of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Some greenery (in our case, Swiss chard but spinach or savoy cabbage also works)
Score the duck breast and salt heavily. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Top and tail the gooseberries. Pat the duck breasts dry, and fry them on a low heat, skin side down to slowly render the fat out. This needs about 15 minutes, to really get the fat out and crisp up the skin. When this is done, turn the duck breast and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two to give it some colour. Remove and leave on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Next, fry the potatoes in the rendered duck fat until they are browned. Remove them and place in a frying pan with a lid, with the browned sides facing up. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, scatter them around the potatoes with the sprig of rosemary, chopped finely. Add the chicken stock until it comes partway up the side of the potatoes, but doesn’t cover the previously fried part. Put the lid on and simmer gently for about 15 – 20 mins, or until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, heat the knob of butter in a pan and add the shallots, sliced. Fry until softened and then add the glug of wine. Simmer until reduced, then add the gooseberries and the cloves. Fry on a low heat until the gooseberries have collapsed, and mash them down with a fork. Add sugar to taste and leave to simmer gently.
Depending on how thick your duck breasts are, we put ours in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and leave them to rest for 10 minutes, to coincide with the potatoes being finished. To serve, plate the potatoes on a warmed plate. Strain the stock into a saucepan and add the greens to be cooked in the garlicky rosemary stock until al dente, and then drain and use them as a bed to serve the duck breast, sliced on top. Spoon some of the stock onto the meat, and serve the gooseberry sauce on the side.