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This is a lovely autumnal dish featuring a mixture of humble but delicious root vegetables, all of which have a nutty, earthy sweetness that goes beautifully with the duck breasts.
First, roast the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Melt the duck fat in a saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Take the pan off the heat. Place the potatoes in a roasting tray, pour over the duck fat mixture and toss to coat. Roast the potatoes in the hot oven for about 45–60 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Roast the golden beetroot on a baking tray in the same oven, for around 25 minutes or until soft. Remove and allow to cool before removing the skin. Cut each beetroot into 4 or 5 pieces and set aside.
Next, make a carrot purée. Put the carrots into a pan and pour in enough cold water to cover. Add a generous pinch of salt to the pan then bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the carrots for about 15–20 minutes until they are soft. Drain the carrots, reserving a little of the cooking water, and tip them into a food processor. Blend to a smooth purée, adding a tiny splash of cooking water if necessary. Pass the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate if making in advance.
Wash the turnips well and place in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside until needed.
Lower the oven temperature to 190°C/ Gas Mark 5. Score the skin of the duck breasts then season well with salt and pepper. Put the breasts, skin side down, in a cold ovenproof pan then place the pan over a very low heat. Gently cook the breasts for about 8 minutes until the fat beneath the skins has been rendered and the skins are golden brown and crisp. Flip the duck breasts over to cook the flesh side for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Place the pan into the hot oven to finish off cooking. Roast for about 3–4 minutes until the breasts are cooked to medium-rare. They should feel slightly springy when pressed. Remove the pan from the oven and rest the breasts for 4–5 minutes.
Heat the duck jus in a small pan. Reheat both the turnips and the beetroot in separate pans with a little olive oil. Gently reheat the carrot purée in a small pan.
Slice the duck breasts. Place spoonfuls of carrot purée on plates and top with duck slices. Arrange the roast potatoes, beetroot and turnips around them and spoon over the duck jus.
Recipe from Jason Atherton’s SOCIAL SUPPERS, published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Photography by John Carey.
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