Slow-cooked duck breast with leeks and nettle sauce


  • Serves 6 people

Pencil leeks and nettles need to be ordered from select greengrocers. At Bentley, Brent Savage serves this duck with a reduced duck stock glaze; you can use a veal glace instead, which is available from butchers and select delicatessens.

  • 6 duck breasts (about 220gm each), brought to room temperature
  • 500 ml (2 cups) sunflower oil
  • 24 nettle leaves (about ½ cup)
  • 12 pencil leeks (see note), trimmed and washed
  • To serve: veal glace (optional; see note)
  • Nettle sauce
  • 125 gm nettle leaves
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 10 gm ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small sebago potato (about 100gm), peeled and diced
  • 1 small fresh bay leaf
01   Preheat oven to 60C. Remove sinew from duck tenderloin (underneath the breast) and trim fatty edges around duck breast. Score skin with a sharp knife in a diagonal pattern and season. Wrap in plastic wrap, roll to enclose and fold ends under. Place duck on a damp cloth on an oven tray and roast for 50 minutes. Remove duck from oven, unwrap and cool for 10 minutes.
02   Increase oven to 170C. Heat a large non-stick ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat, add duck skin-side down and fry until golden brown (3-4 minutes), then turn over, transfer pan to oven and roast until duck is medium-rare (3 minutes). Remove from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
03   For nettle sauce, blanch nettles until just wilted and bright green (1 minute), then refresh in iced water. Drain well and set aside. Cook onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until onion is soft (3-5 minutes), then add potato and bay leaf and 250ml water and simmer uncovered until potato is completely soft (14-16 minutes). Transfer to a blender, discarding bay leaf, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Squeeze excess water from nettles, add to blender and process until smooth. Pass sauce through a fine sieve and adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm.
04   Heat sunflower oil in a deep saucepan to 160C and fry nettle leaves in batches until just crisp (30 seconds to 1 minute; be careful, hot oil will spit). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season to taste.
05   Heat a large frying pan over high heat, add leeks and fry until blackened and just tender (2-3 minutes each side).
06   To serve, spoon nettle sauce onto plates, halve duck breasts and arrange on sauce, and top with leeks and fried nettles.

Watch Brent Savage from Sydney's Bentley restaurant make the slow-cooked duck breast with leeks and nettle sauce recipe live from the Harvey Norman Gourmet Institute Event on May 13 at Domayne Alexandria in an exclusive video on the Harvey Norman website

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