Duck breasts with roast beetroot, radish and cocoa

Duck breasts with roast beetroot, radish and cocoa

Cut the Carbs!

Apart from their unique ability to stain everything in the kitchen when peeled, beetroot are special things. When roasted in their skins, protected under a canopy of foil, they become lolly-sweet. On their own they’d be fine. But believe me when I say the mild bitterness of a puckered radish and a grating of dark chocolate really make them shine. Beetroot and cocoa have long been friends – the internet is teeming with accounts of their joint escapades in brownies, whoopie pies and cake pops. Here the darkest chocolate adds some murky intrigue to a warm salad which becomes festively fabulous with duck breasts – and for those in the southern hemisphere it will do the same for chargrilled fillets of kangaroo. Either way, you’ve got a feast that’s worth risking a little bit of tainted skin for.


Quantity Ingredient
bunch fresh, medium beetroots
bunch radishes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
20g very dark chocolate, finely grated, (minimum 70% cocoa solids, but 85–90% is best)
4 medium duck breasts, skin on and trimmed of sinew
2 tablespoons blanched hazelnuts, toasted
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Wash the beetroots and radishes to remove any dirt and trim the stalks to leave a few centimetres tufting out of the top. Take 2 radishes, shave them into slivers on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler and put them in a bowl of cold water to stay crisp.
  3. You want all the beetroots and remaining radishes to be around the same size. If some are much bigger, cut them in half to ensure a more even cooking time. Aim for no larger than a golf ball. Scatter them on a baking tray.
  4. Drizzle the beetroots and radishes with the olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon salt. Cover the tray with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½–2 hours until a skewer easily slides through the centre.
  5. When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and leave the oven on. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly, then rub the skins off the beetroots – it’s best to wear rubber gloves when you do this!
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top of the roasted vegetables. Season with a little extra salt and pepper.
  7. Score lines in the skin of the duck breasts using a small, sharp knife, being careful not to cut all the way through to the flesh underneath. Season the scored skin with salt. Place 2 duck breasts, skin side down, in a cold frying pan and set over the highest heat. When you hear the fat start to sizzle, cook for 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan, set aside, clean out the pan and repeat the cooking process with the other 2 duck breasts.
  8. Transfer all the duck breasts to the oven and cook for 5 minutes for rare, and 8 minutes or longer if you like things cooked through.
  9. Allow the duck to rest for 5 minutes before carving it into thick slices. Serve with the roasted vegetables, toasted hazelnuts and raw radish slivers.
low carb
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