Crispy duck breast with glazed butternut squash

Crispy Duck breast - Derry Clarke Keeping it Simple From Derry Clarke’s (lEcrivain) latest book ‘Keeping It Simple’ (Gill & Macmillan €24.99), this could be a nice recipe for a smaller Christmas meal, for 2-4 people. Derry advises “Before cooking duck breast, rub the skin with sea salt for extra crispness.

Cooking the duck skin side down in a pan that you heat from cold also helps the skin to cook through. I would recommend serving duck pink. The butternut squash in this dish cuts the richness of the duck.”

Rare duck is quite a cheffy thing and you can of course cook it for longer, if preferred. You can also vary the accompaniment – here the butternut squash works with the duck in the same way as more traditional turnip, for example.

Serves 4

4 duck breasts
1 large bunch of rocket leaves
olive oil

For the glazed butternut squash

1 butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
4 large shallots (halved)
200g cured bacon (blanched and cubed)
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
50g butter
50g chopped fresh sage
50g chopped fresh thyme

For the glazed butternut squash

1. Place the butternut squash, shallots and bacon in a bowl. Add the orange and lime juice, olive oil, honey, butter, sage and thyme.

2. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

3. Toss all the ingredients together and spread on a roasting tray.

4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C until tender, about 15–20 minutes.

For the duck

1. Place the duck breasts skin side down on a cold heavy frying pan.

2. Cook on a high heat until the skin is crisp (about 5 minutes).

3. Turn the breasts over and reduce the heat.

4. Cook for a further 3–5 minutes for pink, longer for medium or well done.

To serve

1. Allow the duck breasts to rest.

2. Carve the breasts lengthways.

3. Spoon the squash onto serving plates, place the duck on top with the rocket leaves, and drizzle with olive oil.

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