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  1. Wealth
December 7, 2012

Michael Caines’s Recipe for Gressingham Duck with Honey, Spices, Savoy Cabbage, Celeriac and Roasted Garlic

By Spear's

The key to this dish is the sauce that has a sweet and tart character, made with honey and sherry vinegar, says Michael Caines.

You can either use the excellent and tasty Gressingham duckling or, if you prefer, wild duck or mallard when in season (September until February).

The key to this dish is the sauce that has a sweet and tart character, made with honey and sherry vinegar. This helps to cut through the richness of the dish. The Chinese five spice mixed with the honey adds a touch of Asian flavouring that lifts the dish into another dimension.

Celeriac is one of my favourite root vegetables, with its soft texture and a unique flavour that is intensified by the roasting. Make sure you blanch the garlic three times as indicated, so that you end up with a milder flavour of garlic. Winter garlic tends to be stronger than in the summer.  

The secret to making the duck skin crispy is to score the skin before cooking it skin-side down, allowing the fat to render out during cooking.

Serves 4:


4 x 180gr Duck breast
Duck sauce
Savoy cabbage
< 20 Celeriac dice, cut into 15mm dice, blanched in the fryer at 150°C until soft
20 Garlic cloves,blanched three times and roasted
Clear honey with pinch of Chinese five spice mixed in

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Duck Sauce
1 kg duck carcasses – chopped small
300ml veal Glace
700ml chicken Stock
1 large onion, cut into thick rings
½ head of garlic
50ml sherry vinegar
15gr fresh thyme
50ml cream
5gr white peppercorns
2gr salt
5gr chinese five spice
100gr honey (clear)

1. Roast the duck carcasses lightly in the oven. Just before they finish roasting, sprinkle the bones with the Chinese five spice. Remove the tray from the oven and place on top of the stove, add the onions and garlic and very lightly colour the onions, then add the thyme. Cool the bones and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock.

2. Separately in a saucepan, heat the honey, bring to a rolling boil and cook for 3 minutes, but be careful not to burn the honey or the sauce will become bitter. Add the vinegar and reduce. Now add the carcasses and chicken stock to the mixture, along with the veal glace, peppercorns, thyme and cream.

3. Bring to the boil and skim off the scum, reduce to a simmer and cook out for 30 minutes. Strain through a colander and then pass through a fine sieve. Reduce to a sauce consistency; adjust the seasoning and the acidity.
Savoy Cabbage

350gr raw savoy cabbage, sliced
40gr smoked back bacon, diced
20gr garlic purée
4gr finely chopped shallots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4. Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water, then refresh in iced water. Drain well and pat dry. Sweat the finely chopped shallots in the butter,then add the smoked bacon. Add the cooked cabbage and dry out before adding the garlic puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking the ducks
5. Refrigerate the ducks well before scoring the skins (we pop ours in the freezer for a few minutes). Taking a sharp knife, score the fatty skin of the duck breast in a criss-cross pattern, but be careful not to cut the meat.

6. Season with salt and pepper and, using a thick, flat-bottomed pan, heat a little non-scented cooking oil and place the breasts skin side down. Cook at a fairly high temperature so that the skin renders out the fat, but be careful not to burn.

7. Once the skin is golden brown and crisp, turn the breast over and seal the other side for 1 minute before returning it once more to its skin side. Crisp the skin a little more before turning the breast onto its other side once more and finish cooking to your desired degree of doneness.

8. Once cooked, remove from the pan and brush the honey and five spice over the crisp skin and leave to rest.

To Serve
9. Place the garlic into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, refresh in running cold water and repeat twice more. Now place the garlic into a thick bottomed pan with a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly until lightly golden. Once the garlic is golden brown and soft, add the blanched celeriac into the pan to reheat.

10. Reheat the duck in the oven for a few minutes, and then slice thinly. Place the cabbage down the middle of the plate and dress the duck on top. Place five celeriac dice and pan-roasted garlic around the outside of the duck and then add the sauce.

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