Influenced by the historical spice trade, this recipe originates from the Medieval Eastern World, with unique and distinctive flavours unexperimented within the bounds of our little island. An interesting and different flavour combination that marries well with the subtle flavour of the duck. When roasted the marinade takes on a smokey character making it irresistibly delicious.
· 2 × duck breasts (8oz each)
· 2 star anise
· 5 whole cloves
· 5 green cardamon pods
· 10 black peppercorns
· 1 × 3cm piece cinnamon stick or ½ ground cinnamon
· 500ml fresh coffee
Brew your choice of fresh coffee and pour into a bowl large enough to hold the duck breasts. Leave it to one side so that it can naturally cool to room temperature.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then place all the combined spices into the pan to slowly stir for around 2 minutes until they are slightly toasted. Remove the spices from the pan and stir them into the bowl with the coffee (if using ground cinnamon do not put it into the pan, this ingredient can be put it straight into the bowl with the coffee).
Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck in a diagonal direction being careful not to cut through the meat on the fat side to achieve a lattice effect.
Place the duck breasts into the cooled aromatic coffee marinade, then cover it with cling-film/plastic-wrap and place it into the fridge for 12 hours or overnight.
After the duck has cooled, preheat the oven to 180°c/356F/Gas 4.
Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and delicately pat them dry with kitchen paper. After patting, heat a frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes and place the duck breasts in fat side down. Cook them for 4 minutes, until the fat is a crisp golden brown colour and then turn the breasts over and cook them for a further 1 minute.
Remove the breasts from the pan and place them onto a baking tray, put this into the oven for 5 minutes for a medium-rare breast.
Pour the marinade through a sieve into the frying pan and boil it until it has reduced by ½. This will be your dish’s sauce, rich in sweet-scented spices, bringing out the sweet succulence of the duck.
Remove the duck breasts from the oven and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. We recommend serving on wilted baby leaf spinach with a piped tower of homemade mashed potato.
Duck breasts can be cooked in a pan in the same way steaks are due to their robust nature that retains its moisture even after cooking. For the best result both in texture and taste, cook medium-rare, as when overcooked duck has the tendency to turn tough and tasteless.
Resting your duck before serving is pivotal for its cooking experience as it equilibrates the temperature and allows the moistures the spread around the meat whilst cooking.