River Cottage Australia



Fantastically spiced eggplant and char-grilled leeks are the perfect compliment for tender, seared duck breasts.


  • For The Crispy Skinned Duck Breast

  • 4 free-range Muscovy duck breasts

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • For The Chargrilled Leeks

  • 6 baby leeks, trimmed

  • 1 tbsp duck fat

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

  • 4 thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to serve

  • ½ tbsp olive oil, to serve

  • For The Spiced Eggplant

  • 5-6 Japanese eggplants (700g total)

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 chilli, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic

  • ½ tsp ground cumin

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste


  • For The Crispy Skinned Duck Breast:

  • 1.

    Bring the duck breasts to room temperature. Season the duck with salt and pepper. Place a heavy-based frypan over a medium high heat.

  • 2.

    When the pan is hot place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the pan. Do not poke the meat with tongs. Allow fat to render, about 6 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and sear 1-2 minutes for rare.

  • 3.

    Transfer duck to a board and let rest about 3 minutes. Duck is best served rare so it doesn’t dry out. Slice the breasts and serve with Spiced Eggplant Salad and duck-fat braised baby leeks. Reserve duck juices from the board and drizzle over duck to serve.

  • For The Chargrilled Leeks:

  • 1.

    Discard outer, darker tough leaves from the leeks. Halve each into shorter 10cm lengths and rinse under cold running water.

  • 2.

    Heat duck fat in a large, heavy based frypan over medium-high heat and panfry leeks until tender and charred.

  • 3.

    Add garlic and thyme sprigs and sauté until garlic is tender. Add cider vinegar and turn leeks in pan to coat, remove from heat. Serve

  • For The Spiced Eggplant:

  • 1.

    Preheat oven grill and set the rack on the second-highest level. Pierce each eggplant in a few places with a fork. Halve each eggplant lengthways, then place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  • 2.

    Grill until blackened and tender (about 10-12 minutes). Scoop out flesh while still hot, then allow to drain in a colander over a bowl. Squeeze gently to remove any bitter juices.

  • 3.

    Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent. Add the chilli, garlic, cumin, paprika and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.

  • 4.

    Smash the eggplant flesh with a fork and add to the pan. Stir until thickened and reduced. Transfer to a bowl and fold in lemon juice, parsley and salt to taste. Serve

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

  • Energy 270kj
  • Fat Total 13g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Protein 17g
  • Carbohydrate 23g
  • Sugar 12g
  • Sodium 981mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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