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  • 4 duck breasts

  • 2-3 tbsp black peppercorns, cracked

  • 50ml/2fl oz cognac

  • 100ml/3½fl oz light gravy (or chicken stock reduced and thickened with arrowroot)

  • 100ml/3½fl oz double cream

  • For the Garnish

  • 110g/4oz shitake mushrooms

  • 110g/4oz oyster mushrooms

  • 30g/1oz dried black trumpet mushrooms, soaked and drained

  • 25ml/1fl oz light olive oil

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 110g/4oz fresh spinach

  • 8 sprigs flatleaf parsley to garnish


  • 1.

    Trim the duck breasts and lightly score the skin side with a sharp knife.

  • 2.

    Spread the cracked peppercorns on to the duck breasts, pressing down the pepper into the breasts. Season with salt.

  • 3.

    Heat a large pan over a moderate heat, and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Let them cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is nicely golden and crisp.

  • 4.

    Turn the breasts over, and cook for approximately 4 minutes more.

  • 5.

    Remove the duck breasts from the pan, and keep warm.

  • 6.

    Pour off the fat, and deglaze the pan with the cognac.

  • 7.

    Add the gravy (or stock), stirring well to scrape up the caramelised juices.

  • 8.

    Add the cream and simmer to reduce to sauce consistency.

  • 9.

    Fry the mushrooms in the olive oil, and half of the butter.

  • 10.

    Fry off the spinach in the remaining butter.

  • 11.

    Mix the two together.

  • 12.

    To serve, spoon the spinach and mushroom mixture on to warmed plates. Slice the duck breasts, and arrange on top of the spinach mixture. Surround with the sauce.

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