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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Ep 31 - Grilled Duck Breast

Grilled Duck Breast with a confit duck neck sausage and sour cherry sauce

Recipe by Stephanie Alexander 

1 duck, with neck attached
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 small head of garlic, halved
6 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
4 parsley stalks
1kg duck fat
250g pork mince
100g minced pork fat
60g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
2 tsp cognac
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp plain flour
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 potato, such as Desiree, peeled, thinly sliced
2tbs sour cherries
1tbs cherry sauce
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 bunch English spinach, washed, leaves picked
Mesclun, to serve
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 220 C.

2. Cut the neck from the body, leaving as much skin as possible attached where the neck joins the body. Strip skin away from neck (as if peeling off a glove) it will be attached by little fibers that pull off easily. Remove the windpipe from the skin and discard. Wash it thoroughly inside and out and pat dry.

3. Place the duck on a board, breast side up. Pull one leg away from the body and cut through the skin between the body and both sides of the thigh. Bend the whole leg firmly away from the body until the ball of the thighbone pops from the hip socket.  Cut between the ball and the socket to separate the leg. Repeat with the other leg. Remove the skin from both legs and discard. Cut the meat from the leg bones, and roughly chop. Set aside.

4. Cut along the breast bone and against the rib cage to remove breasts from duck. Score skin at an angle. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

5. Roughly chop the remaining carcass and combine with olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and herbs in a heavy-based baking tray. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned.

6. Place chopped leg meat into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer mixture to an electric mixer fixed with a paddle. Add pork mince, pork fat, pistachios, cognac and lemon zest. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix over medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Place stuffing mixture into a piping bag.

7. Heat duck fat in a small deep saucepan to 90C.

8. Tie the narrow end of the neck with string and pipe in stuffing mixture, filling it well. Using a larding needle and string, sew the large end of the neck, not too tightly. Place neck sausage in the duck fat and cook for 30 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, remove baking tray from the oven. Stir through the flour and vinegar. Return to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove and pour away fat. Decrease the oven temperature to 200C.

10. Place baking tray over high heat, add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan well. Add the chicken stock in 2 batches, stirring well after each addition. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

11. Remove the sausage from the pan, place on a baking tray and crisp in the oven for 15 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the duck fat.

12. Place potato slices in a bowl, coat well with the reserved duck fat. Arrange slices without overlapping on a paper-lined baking tray. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Check occasionally.

13. Strain the stock mixture and chill in a freezer for 5 minutes. Remove stock from the freezer. Using paper towel, scrape the fat off the surface of the stock.

14. Pour the stock into a clean pan, over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until reduced and thickened to a sauce-like consistency. Add the cherries and adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm.

15. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Cook duck breast skin-side down for   5-7 minutes, to render fat. Turn and cook for a further 4 minutes until medium. Rest on a warm plate, loosely covered with foil.

16. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add spinach to the pan, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until wilted.

17. To serve, arrange spinach on plate, top with a 2cm thick slice of the duck sausage. Slice a breast fillet on the diagonal and fan onto the plate Spoon the cherry sauce over the sliced duck. Serve with mesclun dressed with extra virgin olive oil and potato crisps scattered on top of the salad leaves.