Guest Post: Duck breast in a red wine and marmalade sauce, spicy puy lentils and potatoes dauphinoise.

Having been rather busy of late, getting myself sorted for the impending postgrad onslaught, I haven’t had time to put together a post (although I have a nice recipe waiting to be written up for you fine folk when I get a sec). I have however had a reader’s contribution from an old uni friend Felix.

Take it away Felix, this recipe looks great!

  • Guest post: Felix Slavin
Felix's Duck

Felix’s Duck

I was served this, as a main course, at the Newton Hotel in Nairn. I couldn’t believe the flavours that were coming out. I recommend everyone tries this dish. It’s amazing. The sauce and the red cabbage are two additions I made to the dish, but I think complement the other components very well.

  • Duck breast in a red wine and marmalade sauce, spicy puy lentils and potatoes dauphinoise

4 x Duck breast (trim excess fat)

For the spicy lentils:

–          1 red onion (finely diced)

–          1 – 2 red chillies (seeds removed, finely diced)

–          ginger (finely diced)

–          2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

–          1 sweet red pepper (finely diced)

–          1 ½ tsp ground coriander

–          1 tsp ground cumin

–          1 tsp curry powder

–          soy sauce (for deglazing)

–          2 tbsp tomato ketchup

–          1 – 2 tbsp brown sauce

–          1 – 2 tbsp honey

–          400g puy lentils (brown lentils)

–          Large bunch of fresh coriander

For the potatoes dauphinoise:

–          Knob of butter for greasing

–          2lb 40z waxy potatoes such as Desiree

–          ¼ pint whole milk

–          ¼ pint double cream

–          1 garlic clove

–          2 sprigs thyme

–          Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

–          Handful of freshly grated parmesan

For the red cabbage:

–          1 red cabbage

–          1 onion (finely sliced)

–          1 bramley apple (grated)

–          4 tbsp red wine vinegar

–          2 tbsp muscavado sugar

–          ½ tsp ground allspice

–          ½ tsp grated nutmeg

–          2 tbsp orange marmalade (alternatively use red currant jelly)

For the jus:

–          250ml red wine

–          Pinch of salt

–          1 star anise

–          1 – 1 ½ tbsp marmalade

–          Splash of balsamic vinegar

–          Juices from the duck breast when resting

Method:

For the potatoes:

Heat oven to 160c. Line an 8 inch square brownie tin with greaseproof paper and then butter the paper. Peel and slice the potatoes to the width of a pound coin. Pat dry. Pour the milk and cream into a pan, add the garlic and thyme. Heat to boiling point, cool a little and strain into a jug. Sprinkle with nutmeg and keep warm. Layer half the potatoes in the tin overlapping the slices. Pour over half the liquid and finish layering the slices, then add the rest of the liquid and scatter over the cheese. Bake for 1 – 11/4 hours until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Red cabbage:

Melt 25g of butter in a large pan and add the onions. Cook for 5 mins. Then add the spices, cabbage, red wine vinegar, sugar, and 100ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hr. Season to taste and then add the marmalade or jelly for glazing.

For the Duck breast:

Preheat the oven to 180degrees. Trim any excess fat from the breasts and score the skin to help the cooking process. Once prepared place the duck breasts and the excess skin in a cold frying pan, set to a high heat and season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. No oil is required. Allow the skin to crisp up until golden brown for about 3 – 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over and then place into the oven for 8 – 12 minutes depending on how good your oven is. When cooked leave to rest for as long as possible (roughly 10 – 15 mins). Keep aside the duck fat from the pan for making roast potatoes on another occasion and keep the resting juices from the duck for the sauce. Slice the breasts into strips.

For the red wine and marmalade sauce:

Add 250ml red wine, the star anise and a pinch of salt to a sauce pan. Bring to the boil and allow for it to reduce. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, the juices from the duck and then the marmalade. Reduce further and look for it to coat the back of the spoon.

Hi folks, Ruari again, I hope you all try out, and enjoy, Felix’s recipe. Let me/him know what you think and how it turns out by commenting below. I’d also like to get more guest recipes for future posts so if you have something you’d like to share then email it to me at ruari.sutherland@gmail.com with a good photo or two and I’ll stick it up some time.

Roman Steak and Rocket (Bistecca di Manzo con Rucola)

In a bid to reassert some order over this blog I have decided to make a small post today to get back into the Monday/Friday pattern. This might be a simple dish but it’s a cracker and one which you can throw together in minutes after work.

During our summer holiday we stopped over in Rome for a few nights. being of thrifty mind (and light of pocket) we were keen to find foodie delights which, whilst stretching our waistlines, didn’t stretch our budgets. Looking through the Rough Guide book we came across Da Augusto in Trastevere which was described as an “old-timer […] serving Roman basics outside on the cobbles”. Equally importantly, “a hearty meal” would only set us back around 14 Euros with wine. We made a bee-line for the restaurant and were not disappointed. Set on a small piazza the tables are jammed into rows together outside and every seat was full with expectant diners at least 45 minutes before dinner service began or the restaurant doors were even open! The queue was constant with more discerning and hungry punters than tables.

Whilst service was patchy (ours was great but a lovely young German couple beside us didn’t get their starters until we were half-way through our mains after ordering at the same time…), The food was brilliant. Roman basics they may have been, but each dish was well flavoured, seasoned and presented sticking to the Italian dictum of simplicity and quality.

The highlight of the meal for me was the bistecca di manzo con rucola, or beef steak and rocket. The steak, so tender and juicy, is beautifully offset by the crunchy peppery rocket (or as used in the recipe below giant cress). By luck, last week I picked up a few copies of The River Cafe cook books and a recipe for the dish jumped out at me. The simple flavours marry so well together that it really needs nothing else but if, like me, you’re the hungry type, you can stick some nice boiled new potatoes on the side.

Bistecca di Manzo con Rucola

Bistecca di Manzo con Rucola

It really couldn’t be simpler:

  • Bistecca di Manzo con Rucola (serves 2)
  1. Two nice sized steaks out (roughly 250g each)
  2. Two handfuls of rocket (or some good giant cress – not the micro watercress though)
  3. Five tsp extra virgin olive oil
  4. Juice of a whole lemon
  5. One tbsp of red wine vinegar

First, flatten your steak between two sheets of clingfilm with a mallet or rolling pin. I used some good quality frying steak here but you can use a couple of sirloins if you’re feeling flush. Get them as thin as possible and then slice into thin strips.

In a jar mix the oil, lemon juice and vinegar and set aside.

Heat a griddle or heavy-based frying pan until smoking and then fry the steak in batches until browned.

dress the rocket or cress and place the steak on top.

Simple!

I hope you get a chance to make this dish and that you enjoy it as much as I did. There’s real pleasure in the concise ingredients list and the few minutes taken to knock it up belie its classy flavours. This is fast food Jim, but not as we know it.

It would be a travesty if I wrote a whole post on a Roman theme without saying: ‘when in Rome’ (eat bistecca di manzo con rucola)!

Until next time…