Roast duck breast with white beans, bacon and red capsicum sauce
( SERVES 2 )
Duck breasts cook quickly, and have a more mellow flavour than most people expect. This is an autumn dish with hints of cassoulet. Season the duck breasts generously with salt and pepper so they will render as much fat as possible. This helps turn the skin wickedly crisp. Rest them after roasting so the juices stay in the meat rather than coming out on the chopping board. A jar of preserved capsicums, puréed until smooth, provides a quick sauce with intense flavour.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Leave skin on the duck. Cut 4 diagonal slits into the skin of the duck breasts and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat, but do not add any oil.
- Place the duck breasts skin-side down in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes. Turn them over and put the pan into the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the breasts to a suitable plate to keep warm, then place the frying pan over a high heat.
- Chop the bacon into large pieces, add to the frying pan and cook until golden brown. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and once it begins to smoke a bit, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 6 minutes or so until they have softened, then stir in the tomato purée.
- Drain the beans and add to the pan (use haricot, cannellini or butter beans). Bring to a simmer, stir in the bay leaf and mustard, season with salt and pepper, then cook for 10 minutes.
- Drain the jar of roasted capsicums and put the capsicums, the remaining olive oil and sugar into a food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan, then simmer gently for a few minutes over a low heat until warmed through.
- Taste for seasoning - you may need to add a little salt. Slice the duck breasts into thin diagonal slices. Spoon the beans into the centre of 2 warm serving plates and arrange the duck slices on top. Spoon the sauce around the outside, then serve.