Pan fried Lincolnshire duck
Duck is something that Lincolnshire has plenty of, yet at home it is so under eaten! A lot of people are put off by the idea of having to cook duck, but it’s as simple as cooking steak, and it has the most beautiful flavour.
For well-done duck, clench your fist tightly and a well-cooked duck will resemble the tenderness of the skin area next to your thumb; for medium lightly clench your first; and for rare, release your fist completely. Just like most meats, always allow 5 minutes for the duck to rest and finish cooking.
Pre-heat an oven to 150ºc.
To prepare the duck breasts: trim off the excess fat that overhangs the meat and keep to one side, as this will be used to flavour the potatoes. With a sharp knife score the skin, making sure you don’t cut through to the meat. Cover and place back in the fridge.
To make the squash puree: to a large sauce pan, add the prepared squash, cover with water and add butter, a bay leaf and salt and pepper to season. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the squash is soft and tender. Place the cooked squash straight into a blender and reduce the leftover liquid for 2–3 minutes, removing the bay leaf. Place the lid on your blender and add 2 tablespoons of the reduced liquid. Blend on a medium speed, gradually adding the liquid back into the cooked squash. Once you reach a puree consistency, discard the remaining liquid. Add the honey to the squash puree, blend, and season to taste. This can be prepared the day before and when you’re ready to serve, heat up gently in a sauce pan.
To make the fondant potatoes: cut off the ends to flatten and cut the potato in half, creating equal rounds. On a high heat, place the potatoes into a heavy based sauce pan and add 100g of butter, the excess duck fat, sage, crushed garlic and a bay leaf. After about 5 minutes, once the potatoes are sealed on both sides and the butter has become frothy, fill the pan with cold water to just cover the potatoes and bring to the boil. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then place into your pre-heated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
To cook the duck: place a heavy based saucepan on a medium heat and add the Lincolnshire rapeseed oil. Season the fat side of the duck with salt and pepper, place fat side down into the hot saucepan and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and add butter, garlic and sage to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the duck breasts back on their skin side and baste with the oil and butter minutes for a further 2 minutes for duck that’s cooked medium/rare. Remove the duck from the pan and rest on a wooden board or cool surface for 3–5 minutes.
Remove the fondant potatoes from the oven and add back into the pan used to cook the duck. Place on a high heat and crisp all sides of the potato.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking in their final stage, place the kale into a pan of boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and add butter into the pan, replacing the kale and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a tablespoon of puree onto each plate, add the fondant potato and kale, slice the duck breast and place on top, serving with a homemade gravy or jus.