Roast Duck Breast with Sweet-Sour Plum & Grana Padano Chutney, Chicory and Plum Salad

38 minutes
to cook

Alex Mackay, cook, teacher, writer, and food lover serves up a collection of his recipes made for sharing showing the versatility of Grana Padano PDO cheese. With lite bites to quick pasta: brunch to supper standbys you can find recipes for every occasion this Easter.

Once you've tried my way of cooking duck breasts they'll become a regular part of your repertoire. Delia Smith loved it so much that at one of our food and wine workshops she used my technique for one of her own recipes. The golden skin is thin; the flesh is lean and succulent. You also get the golden fat as a bonus to fry things in another time.

The meat is rich and loves the piquancy of plums, both in the chutney and the salad. The chutney has a secret ingredient in Grana Padano cheese, using also the rind to give it extra depth. I've also eaten this chutney with aged Grana Padano and chicken liver pate. I have a feeling it'll work well with prawns too; I'm trying that soon. The chutney can be made days before serving. The raw plums can sit in their dressing for hours. If you want to really make your life easy, prepare the chicory in advance, store it, in a bowl, with damp kitchen paper underneath and on top.

Serves 4 Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: chutney approx 20 minutes, duck 18 minutes plus 10 minutes resting; Difficulty: Moderate

  • method
  • Ingredients


1. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºc / Gas 6 / Rack Position Upper Middle Shelf.

2. Start with the chutney. Pour the red wine into a medium sized saucepan; add 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, the chopped garlic, grated ginger and orange juice - reserve the zest for later. Bring to the boil then boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.
3. Cut the plums in half. Remove the stones. Slice 4 of the halves into very thin slices. Put these slices into a medium sized bowl; add the olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of sugar. Toss until the plums are completely coated then set aside.
4. Chop the remaining plums into roughly 2cm dice. Add the diced plums to the red wine mixture along with the sugar, chicken stock, and Grana Padano rind. Bring back to the boil, turn down the heat then simmer swiftly for 20 minutes until the plums are soft and there are just a few tablespoons of liquid remaining. This timing will vary a little as my plums were very hard, check every 5 minutes. Remove and discard the Grana Padano rind. Stir in the grated Grana Padano. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and sugar.
The Duck Breasts
5. While the chutney simmers, place the duck breasts, skin side down, into a cold frying pan. Fry over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the skin is brown and most of the fat is rendered out. Drain the fat into a heatproof container, (please keep it, and use it for frying mushrooms, potatoes and eggs) transfer the pan to the upper middle shelf of the oven and roast for 8 minutes for duck that is perfectly pink. Take the pan out of the oven. Next, using a pair of tongs, roll the flesh side of the duck breasts in the glorious cooking juices, then turn them skin side up, onto a small cooling rack over a plate. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
6. Put the chicory leaves onto plates. Dot the chutney between the leaves with a spoon. Scatter the plum salad onto the leaves. Shave Grana Padano over everything.
7. Turn each duck breast flesh side up onto your chopping board. Slicing from the flesh side makes the job easier, more pleasant and the resulting slices much better. Carve each duck breast as thickly or thinly as you prefer, against the grain. Pop the slices onto the plates with the chutney and chicory, followed by the orange zest and a trickle of olive oil. Spoon over any juices that have escaped onto the plate under the rack and serve with any remaining chutney on the side.


The Chutney
150ml red wine
Zest (removed with a zester and set aside) and juice of 1 large orange
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Grana Padano PDO rind from your piece
6 purple plums
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200ml chicken stock
4 tbsp sugar (any sort will do) plus extra for seasoning
25g finely grated Grana Padano PDO
The Duck and Salad
4 duck breasts
2 heads of chicory, leaves separated
Grana Padano PDO Shavings
Extra virgin olive oil

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