The latest "fancier" dish to hit the blog is this uber delicious duck breast w/ Asian greens is rounded off with my latest addiction - rhubarb & beetroot ketchup. Yep, you read correctly. Duck breast with ketchup! Interested in what I am talking about? All I can say is read on friend and enjoy tucking into this any night of the week. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make. Why not impress your partner this weekend - go on!
RHUBARB & BEETROOT KETCHUP
Ketchup back in the day was actually made using mushrooms! The 2 most popular/famous ketchup were walnut & mushroom ketchup. Nowadays, when we think of ketchup, we think of Heinz. Sometimes referred to as tomato sauce it is the quintessential ketchup. Truthfully though ketchup can be made up of any fruit/vegetable. A mixture of spices, onion & vinegar and served cold is what makes ketchup a ketchup. Here we use beetroot, rhubarb, spices in the form of anise, clove & ginger, red onion, red wine vinegar & sugar to balance it out. You can roast the beets from scratch but to speed up the process I have used the pre-cooked beets, you can find in most stores. Am I cheating? A little, but that little cheat helps save about 45 minutes in cooking time and still brings amazing results!
You will note that I suggested you can eat the sauce hot or cold below in the full recipe - I ate it cold as I made it earlier in the day and that's why I called it ketchup, but you can just as easily eat it hot if you make it to order and call it a sauce or puree. You know us, chefs - always trying to sexy up the description 😉
These guys are simply great. They cook in a matter of minutes and take on other flavours really well. I used buk choy & pak choy in this recipe, but you could substitute green beans, sugar snaps or snow peas too. What I like about buk & pak choy is the thicker meatier stem and the left green at the end. Once cooked, the meatier/root end gives you lovely texture whilst the leafy green part wilts nicely allowing you to manipulate it on the plate but also adding a different dimension to the dish. Cooked in about 2 minutes what more could you ask for?
To cook them, I slice them from the root and allow the leaves to separate. I fry them in 1tbsp of duck fat that we previously rendered for a minute and then add a drizzle of soy and a splash of water. Cover the pan for a minute and give them a little shake. You are left with perfectly cooked Asian greens and a nice sticky/salty sauce you can drizzle over them too.
SCORING YOUR DUCK BREAST
Why do we score the duck breast? Not just for a pretty design but to help release the fat. You will see that duck has a thick layer of fat on top. The layer helps protect the duck breast meat that cooks AND dries out very quickly. The goal when cooking duck is to render this fat. The easiest way to start this process off is to slice into the skin. The key is not to slice too deeply as you don't want to score all the way down to the meat as this will cook the duck too quickly. Read on and see my advice on how to cook duck breast perfectly!
COOKING DUCK BREASTS
So, we have figured out that we should score the duck breast but what's next? DON'T oil the duck nor the pan. We mentioned rendering the fat down. This is where we release as much fat as possible from the skin. All that fat means you have no need for oil. Season your duck breast on both sides. If possible, do this in advance and leave your duck breast to air dry in the fridge.
Place the duck breast into a cold pan and on a low heat allow the pan to heat up slowly while the duck is in the pan. This process allows as much fat as possible to release and for the skin to brown and crisp up nicely, after approx 8 minutes, flip the breast and cook for 2 minutes skin side down. At this stage, I place the duck on a wire rack and into the oven for a further 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature is 52c. Remove from the oven and leave the duck to rest on the rack for 8 minutes before slicing. Resting is crucial as it allows the juices to redistribute, leaving you with a beautifully pink duck breast.
DUCK FAT - WHAT'S IT GOOD FOR?
Duck fat is life! Once you have rendered the fat down save all that beautiful fat in your pan. You will pay good money at the grocery store for duck fat. In this recipe, we use a little of it to cook the Asian greens in but once cooled I store the duck fat in the fridge until I am cooking any vegetables. Duck fat roast potatoes, carrots, roasted onions, fried greens etc. all taste killer with the addition of duck fat. Plus it's free!
Without a doubt my current favourite pinot noir at the moment! Heirloom Alcazar Castle 2019 Pinot Noir. I picked up a bottle of this about 6 months ago from My Wine Guy and instantly fell in love. In fact, I picked up 3 extra bottles the next day! Little did I know that 2 months after that I was about to embark down the road of recipe development with Heirloom winery and creating a recipe for my favourite pinot #foodbloggergoals
So, speaking with Bernice & Elena at Heirloom we decided duck breast was what we wanted to focus on but also plenty seasonal veggies and flavours. For me, duck breast is best with Asian flavours, so having made a rhubarb & beetroot ketchup recently I decided to play around with it a bit more and perfect it. Some simple Asian greens sauteed with a little soy made this 5 spiced duck breast dish a real winner.
The wine - oh the wine! A quick 30 minute decant, and she was ready to be drunk. This wine is light, bright, but full of body at the same time. I know, I know sounds like I have no clue what I am talking about. Sometimes I do wonder myself! Flavours of plum, cherry, chocolate, raspberry & clove. Tannins play a beautiful supporting role. The acidity is juicy, and a deft touch of oak simple makes this wine a WHOLE LOAD OF MOREISH. It's a wine that drinks perfectly on its own (trust me, I've done it a few times!) but with my duck breast & Asian greens its simple savage!
ALTERNATIVE DUCK RECIPES
Duck Stir-Fry w/ Fresh Plums & Peanuts by Brian Jones of 'Krumpli'
The Classic Duck a l'Orange by Emmeline Kemperyd of 'Always Use Butter'
Juicy Asian Style Roasted Duck by Tu Nguyen of 'Cookmorphosis'
Roast Duck Caramelised Grapefruit & Wombok Salad by Phenie Ooi of 'The Devil Wears Salad'
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!
- 4 duck breast 180g each
- 2 tbsp Chinese 5 spice
- 2 bunches buk choy
- 2 bunches pak choy
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- sesame seeds
- 300 g rhubarb
- 150 g beetroot pre-cooked
- 1" piece ginger
- 50 g sugar
- 1 anise
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 30 ml red wine vinegar
- Dice the onion, garlic, rhubarb & beets *see tips*
- Cook the onion & garlic with oil on medium heat until softened – approx. 2/3 minutes
- Add rhubarb & a pinch of salt and cook until mushy – approx. 5 minutes
- Blend spices and add to rhubarb along with pre-cooked beets, sugar & vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes
- Blend until smooth and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps
- Can be served hot or cold
- Heat oven to 180c
- Score the skin of the duck gently with a knife, being careful not to cut the flesh *see tips*
- Rub in 5 spice and season generously with salt
- In a cold frying pan on low heat place duck skin side down and cook for 8 minutes undisturbed
- Flip the duck and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Place the duck on a baking tray with a wire rack and cook in the oven for a further 3/4 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 52c
- Drain rendered duck fat, wipe out frying pan with kitchen cloth and set aside *see Asian greens*
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 8 minutes before slicing
- Slice the chunky root from the end of the greens and discard
- Using a frying pan (that you have a lid for) cook greens in 1 tbsp rendered duck fat for 1 minute
- Add soy sauce and water and cover with lid. Cook for a further minute shaking pan a little to mix up the greens/liquid
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve
- chef knives
- chopping board
- measuring utensils
- food processor/blender
- baking tray
- wire rack
- frying pan w/ lid
- i used the pre-cooked beets that you can buy in most grocery stores – a little bit of a cheat but it speeds up the process by about an hour ?
- scoring the skin of the duck allows for the fat to render out easier and therefore will help cook the fat. Careful not to cut into the flesh of the duck as this will speed up the cooking time or leave you with overcooked duck
- you can use the same pan for the duck & the greens provided you can pop a lid on top. If you don’t have a lid for the pan you can put another pan on top or even a baking tray. This helps to steam the veg
- resting your meat – I can’t stress how important this is. The juices need to re-distribute once cooked and if you cut into it straight away they will just seep out leaving you with grey overcooked meat