Duck breasts with juniper, blackberry and port sauce

Duck breasts with juniper, blackberry and port sauce

By
From
Roasting Tray Magic
Serves
2
Cooking time
35 mins
Photographer
Faith Mason

Dark, rich and a little gamey, duck breast is gorgeous paired with blackberries in a mellow port sauce. The skin does not turn quite as crisp as it does when cooked the conventional way, seared first in a frying pan on the stove, but it is delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 boneless duck breasts, skin on
10 juniper berries, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed
small bunch thyme
salad or greens, to serve (optional)

For the sauce:

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons port
180ml beef stock
25g light brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
150g blackberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C and place a 30 x 20 x 5-cm roasting tray inside on the highest rack to heat.
  2. Pat the duck dry with kitchen paper and score the skin diagonally with a sharp knife. Using a pestle, bash the juniper berries with the salt in a mortar, then rub the mixture into the duck skin.
  3. When the oven has reached the correct temperature, quickly place the duck breasts, skin-side down, in the hot tray and roast for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F, turn the duck breasts over and baste with the rendered fat. Add the garlic and thyme to the tray, shake well and roast for a further 10 minutes, basting halfway through.
  5. Transfer the duck to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Tip out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the tray. Stir in the port, stock, sugar and butter. Add the blackberries and squash them a bit with a fork. Return to the oven for 12 minutes – the mixture should thicken slightly.
  6. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Squeeze out the garlic flesh and discard the skins. Mash the berries and garlic with a fork and amalgamate into the sauce, adding in any juices from the duck plate.
  7. Serve the duck in slices with the sauce spooned over. Some new potatoes and salad or greens would be lovely alongside.
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