Duck and Blackberries – an autumn recipe

There is an abundance of blackberries at the moment and we have been making the most of them. We pick ours above waist height so that there are plenty left for wildlife and to avoid dusty fruit. The blackberries are delicious as they are but they also make a great accompaniment in the form a compote type sauce to duck and pork.

We love duck but do not want to consume much fat so here is my own recipe idea. The meat does not dry out due to the marinade and you will be amazed at the amount of fat produced. Just scoring the skin does not eliminate the fat. We think this has all the deliciousness of an indulgent dish without detriment to one’s health.

4 duck breasts
30ml port
30ml orange juice
7 crushed juniper berries
2.5ml five spice powder
a bit of thyme
salt and pepper
5ml olive oil

Begin by pulling off the skin and fat from the duck (you might have to cut a bit where the skin is more firmly attached). Mix the remaining ingredients above and marinade the duck breasts for a few hours. Meanwhile, cut the skin into fine slices and place in a non-stick frying pan big enough to take the whole duck breasts. Render down the skin on a low to medium heat; hot enough to render the fat but not spit. You will be amazed at the amount of fat produced. Pour off the fat at intervals into a container to use for other dishes. Keep cooking the skin until nice and brown and crispy with no layer of fat remaining. (It should resemble lean pork scratchings). You now have Quacklings!! Place on one side for later.

Drain off almost all the fat from the pan and heat the pan before you add the duck, reserving the marinade. Cook to desired level of pinkness turning a couple of times. Takes about 20 minutes. You can add the quacklings to heat through at the end if you prefer. Remove meat and pour the marinade juices into the pan, bring to a simmer, reducing down if necessary. Slice meat after a few minutes resting.

Blackberry Sauce – Sugar free.
You can sieve this or just leave it rustic looking with whole fruit. I prefer it whole which also obviates the need to poke the seeds out of the sieve. Adjust the quantities of the flavourings to taste. I don’t actually measure ingredients much unless I am baking when more precision is essential, so this is a bit ad hoc. The fruit is not preserved so keep in the fridge and use within a few days.

250g Blackberries, rinsed
2.5ml balsamic vinegar
15ml water
15 – 30ml Splenda or stevia
1 star anise
pinch of cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook through gently for ten minutes or so until the fruit is soft but still has some shape to it. That’s it. Best warm with the duck.