Emma Crowhurst: Pink duck breast with parsnip sauce recipe

emma's duck recipe

emma's duck recipe - Credit: Archant

Emma Crowhurst, chef, writer, cookery teacher

Gressingham Foods, a family business founded in 1971, takes its name from the business’s best-selling product – the remarkable Gressingham duck.

This is a unique breed, renowned for its superior taste and higher percentage of breast meat.

From British farms, based in East Anglia, Gressingham is the only company in the world licensed to produce this breed and although today the range of poultry and meat they provide has grown, to many they remain ‘the Gressingham duck people’.

They want to introduce everybody to duck. Not your everyday supper perhaps, but for any small excuse to celebrate at home duck is easy to cook, low on fat and utterly delicious. On their website they even have video tutorials on how to cook it.

I’d say the thing that gives most people pause for thought is the fat. This however is easy to remove or left on can be rendered (melted down) as part of a recipe.

If seared and salted, the fat can be absolutely crisp and delectable.

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My top tip for cooking duck without the skin would be to use a nice hot pan, a little oil for heat and butter for flavour.

Cook for a few minutes on each side and add a light dusting of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

As important as the cooking, is the resting of the meat.

Whilst the meat is cooking, the juices are boiling inside the flesh and resting allows the juices to settle back into the meat, keeping it really succulent.

If you are dining in this New Year’s Eve, try cooking a special meal using duck and make it your New Year’s resolution to try a few new recipes.



For the parsnip puree

1. Peel the parsnips and cut them into large chunks.Cook the parsnips in the chicken stock until tender.

2. Bring the milk to boil and set aside.

3. Drain the parsnips and blend together with 30g butter and some of the milk until very creamy and smooth, add more milk as needed.

4. Taste to check for seasoning and set aside. This can be made in advance and reheated later.

For the sauce

1. Heat the olive oil in deep saucepan and gently fry the shallot for a few minutes, add one garlic clove and one thyme spring, some pepper and continue to fry for another minute.

2. Add the stock, red wine and port and simmer until reduced by about two thirds ( this will take about 15-25 minutes).

3. Strain the sauce and whisk in 10g butter. You should have about 150ml of sauce.

The duck

1. Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a non-stick pan with a teaspoon of duck fat or olive oil.

3. Place the duck in the pan skin side down. Cook for two minutes on a medium heat.

4. Add the remaining garlic and thyme to the pan, turn the heat down and continue to cook for about another three to five minutes, until the duck is pink.

5. Remove from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place for a few minutes.

6. To assemble the dish, divide the parsnip purée between two plates, top with sliced duck breasts and plenty of sauce.

I serve mine with some roasted parsnips and carrots, wilted Savoy cabbage and the delicious sauce.