They say three’s a crowd, yet in the kitchen I find three or four well-matched ingredients are just the right number to make a dish sing. Crispy duck, savoury pumpkin, sour redcurrants and the sweetness of birch (or maple) make up one of my favourite foursomes. Ideally, I would use birch syrup produced in the forests of Estonia for this dish, but if you don’t happen to have a bottle of rare birch syrup on hand, then simply use some good-quality maple syrup instead.
Crispy Duck Breast With Redcurrants & Roast Pumpkin
- 1 small pumpkin about 2kg, peeled and deseeded
- 1 teaspoon paprika preferably smoked
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 4 tablespoons birch syrup or maple syrup
- 2 duck breasts
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- Handful of redcurrants
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Thinly slice the pumpkin and place on a baking tray, spreading out the slices so they will crisp up a little in the oven. Sprinkle over the paprika and season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with the rapeseed oil and birch or maple syrup. Put into the oven to roast.
- When the pumpkin has been in the oven for 30 minutes, make a start on the duck. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breast, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Season the duck with salt and pepper, rubbing it in well.
- Place a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat and, when it’s hot, lay in the duck breasts, skin side down – you won’t need any oil. Fry for 3–4 minutes until the skin is crisp and the fat has rendered into the pan, then turn and fry for just 20 seconds on the other side.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and sit the duck breasts on top, then scatter over the pumpkin seeds and redcurrants. Roast for 10–15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and well-browned and the duck is cooked to your liking.
- Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. To serve, transfer the duck breasts to a clean chopping board and slice. Spoon the pumpkin, redcurrants and pumpkin seeds onto individual plates, then top with the sliced duck breasts.