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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Episode 25 - Duck Breast with Braised Celery Heart

Stephen Rooney

Duck Breast with Braised Celery Heart, Carrots & Orange Sauce

Serves 4


250g duck bones, chopped

2 cinnamon quills

2 tsp fennel seeds

4 star anise

4 duck breasts, skin on

3 bay leaves

6 sprigs thyme

12 baby carrots, peeled

2 thick rashers bacon, diced

2 bunches celery

1 carrot, roughly chopped

4 shallots, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

120ml Grand Marnier

250ml orange juice

25g butter

1 sprig rosemary

1 orange, segmented


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Place duck bones into a large, deep frypan. Place on low heat and render fat. Remove and reserve duck fat and continue to cook duck bones until caramelised, a further 10 minutes. Deglaze pan with 100ml water then remove frypan from heat and set aside with bones to use for cooking celery later.
  • Place 1 cinnamon quill and fennel seeds into a pan. Crush 2 star anise and add to the pan. Dry roast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place in mortar and crush spices then rub over duck breasts. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon reserved duck fat in a frypan set over low heat. Add 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, baby carrots, and bacon and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside, keeping warm.
  • Meanwhile, slice tops off celery and discard the green outer leaves and stalks. Peel the inner stalks to remove strings then chop in half lengthways.
  • Return reserved frypan and caramelised bones to a high heat. Add celery hearts, 1.5L water, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme and chopped carrot and braise until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove celery hearts, discard liquid, bones, carrots and herbs. Return celery hearts to the pan, add butter and 1sprig thyme and toss to coat. Season and set aside, keeping warm.
  • For the sauce, saut shallots and garlic in remaining tablespoon duck fat until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add Grand marnier and reduce until liquid is almost evaporated. Add remaining bay leaf, remaining 2 star anise, cinnamon, and remaining 2 sprigs thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add 230ml orange juice and reduce for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, strain and whisk in remaining 20ml orange juice and butter and set aside.
  • Place duck breasts into a frypan and place over a low heat. Once pan starts to sizzle, cook for 6-7 minutes until skin is crispy, removing excess duck fat if necessary. Turn breasts over and cook until medium-rare, about another 2 minutes. Remove breasts from pan and set aside to rest.
  • Place a duck breast in centre of each plate, add celery and baby carrots and finish with orange sauce. Garnish with orange segments and rosemary.