Cardamom and honey-glazed duck breasts with baby root vegetables

Cardamom and honey-glazed duck breasts with baby root vegetables

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

This subtly scented glaze works beautifully with the richness of the duck meat and also brings out the underlying sweetness of the accompanying baby root vegetables.


Quantity Ingredient
12 baby red beetroot, washed and trimmed
12 baby golden beetroot, washed and trimmed
8 baby leeks, washed and cut into 4 cm lengths
4 x 200g duck breasts
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
60ml olive oil
12 baby turnips, brushed, trimmed and quartered
600ml good-quality chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried wild oregano, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons butter
edible flower, (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dry sherry
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon orange-flower water


  1. Cook each type of beetroot in a separate pans of simmering salted water until tender. When cool enough to handle, peel them, cut into quarters and set aside. Blanch the baby leek pieces in boiling water for 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water, drain and dry.
  2. To make the glaze, warm the honey gently with the sherry and water to dissolve, then stir in the cardamom seeds and crushed pepper. As the glaze cools, add the orange-flower water.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breasts in a neat criss-cross pattern and season lightly. Heat the oil in a heavy-based roasting pan over a medium–high heat until hot. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, then lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the skin turns golden brown and the fat starts to render. Turn the breasts over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the duck breasts from the pan and tip away the rendered fat.
  4. Add the golden beetroot and baby turnips to the pan, along with the blanched leeks, chicken stock, cardamom and oregano. Stir gently, then sit the duck breasts on top of the vegetables and brush the skin generously with the glaze. Cook in the oven for 6 minutes, then transfer the duck breasts to a warm plate.
  5. Return the pan to the stove over a high heat and simmer vigorously until the stock has reduced by half. Add the butter, swirling the pan until it emulsifies with the sauce. Add the reserved red beetroot and heat through gently (without stirring, as the beetroot will discolour the sauce). Check and adjust the seasoning if need be.
  6. Trim the ends of the duck breasts then slice them in half lengthwise, place on a baking tray and reheat in the hot oven for a minute. Divide the vegetables among four serving plates and top with the duck breast halves. Garnish with edible flowers, if using, just before serving.
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