Enjoy a relaxed five star Christmas dinner for two or double up for extra guests.
Prepare the blackberry and port sauce and pack the sliced sprouts into a plastic bag earlier in the day, then roast the duck breasts while the potatoes dauphinoise bake, for an easy Christmas dinner.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 34-42 minutes
Stand 5 minutes
Blackberry and port sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or a pinch of dried
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons port
- 300ml (1/2 pint) good chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100g (4oz) blackberries
- ½ teaspoon cornflour mixed with a little water, optional
- 375g (13oz) pack of 2 duck breasts
- 175g (6oz) Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- Steamed asparagus and Potatoes dauphinoise to serve
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and carrot and fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time until the vegetables are a deep golden brown.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the garlic, herbs and nutmeg then the vinegar and port.
- Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated then add the stock and salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until reduced by about one third.
- Strain and reserve.
- Preheat the oven to 220oC (425oF) Gas Mark 7.
- Slash the skin of each duck breast, 4 or 5 times then rub in a little salt and pepper.
- Add the breasts skin side downward to a cold frying pan and cook over a low heat for 6 minutes until the skin is just turning golden.
- Turn them over and cook for 1 minute.
- Lift the duck out of the pan and transfer to a rack in a small roasting tin, skin side uppermost.
- Roast for 10 minutes for rare, 15 minutes for medium or 18 minutes for well done.
- Meanwhile, pour off most of the duck fat from the frying pan to leave about 1 tablespoon, add the sprouts and stir fry over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until softened and golden brown around the edges.
- Add the garlic, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.
- Cover and keep hot.
- Allow the duck breast to rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the blackberries to the sauce and warm through.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, add the cornflour and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring.
- Carve each duck breast into 4 or 5 slices.
- Arrange the sprouts on serving plates, top with the duck and spoon over a little sauce, serving the remainder in a small jug.
- Accompany with steamed asparagus and baked potatoes dauphinoise.
Recipe and photo credit by Seasonal Berries