Sunday, August 28

Szechwan Pepper Crusted Duck Breast, Udon Miso Broth

The ingredients for this may initially seem tricky to get hold of but I bought all of them from my local Sainsbury's.    You can prep and cook this dish in 20 mins so is a good one to have up your sleeve when you want to impress, but don't have much time.   Szechwan pepper has a taste all of it’s own and goes great with duck.   Udon noodles are the really thick worm like ones that can only really be eaten by slurping – don’t feel embarrassed, just go for it. For two:

2 smallish free range duck breasts
1 tbsp szechwan pepper corns
sea salt
1 litre of light chicken or veg stock
1 heaped tbsp brown rice miso paste
a few thin slices fresh ginger, peeled
1 fat clove of garlic, finely sliced
200g of pre-cooked udon noodles
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 head of pak choi, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 200c. Score the duck skin to the flesh in a small diamond pattern to help render out the fat during cooking. In a pestle and mortar crush the szechwan pepper corns with a good pinch of salt.   Rub this well into the scored skin of the duck getting the spice mix well into the cuts.

Place the duck breast skin side down in a non-stick frying pan with a metal handle and fry (with no oil) on a medium to low heat for 10 mins taking care not to burn the skin and pepper.   You may need to drain off the duck fat several times as you go. Check the duck, the skin should be crispy to touch and golden brown. Turn the duck over and transfer to the oven. I like my duck pink so I would check after 3 to 5 mins.   For pink, the meat should feel slightly spongy when you prod it. If you like it well done then cook until it feels solid with no give when cooked through. Remove the duck breasts and allow to rest for 5 mins – this is really important if you want the duck to be juicy.

While the duck is resting, make up the miso broth by bringing the stock and miso paste to the simmer. Throw the remainder of the ingredients into the broth and simmer for 2 mins until the pak choi begins to wilt and the noodles have heated through. Taste the broth and add more miso paste to taste.

Divide the noodles & veg between two deep bowls then ladle in enough broth to almost cover the noodles. Slice each duck breast at an angle into 4 or 5 slices, re-arrange as a breast again and lay on top of the noodles.   

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