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Thursday 1 December 2011

Sluttishly Savoury: Earl Grey Duck

There's something about duck that's wintry and hearty and perfect for this time of year. But it's not always easy to work out what to do with it when you're frazzled after a tough day at the office. I came up with this sauce from a few store cupboard ingredients I had knocking around the place. It's pretty simple and takes about the same about of time as the duck breasts take to finish in the oven.

Earl Grey is a great match for the duck as it is blended with bergamot orange oil, think of this as a pared down version of that French retro classic duck a l'orange.

Earl Grey Duck (serves 2)

You'll need:
  • 2 duck breasts, skin slashed
  • A splash of brandy
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped finely
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Earl Grey teabags
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 25g butter, cold
Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Salt and pepper the duck. Put it into a cold pan and fry on a medium heat until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp. Pour off most of fat (keep it for roasties!)
  • Put the duck into the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  • Saute the onion in the remaining duck fat until soft and starting to brown.
  • Deglaze the pan with a splash of brandy.
  • Add the stock, honey and teabags. Boil to reduce the sauce by half while the duck finishes cooking.
  • Remove the teabags and whisk the cold butter into the sauce to thicken it.
  • Slice the breasts and serve with the sauce.

Wine match: Duck is often quite fatty (yum!) so you need something with crisp acidity to cut through that, and with flavours like honey and earl grey to deal with you probably need something aromatic and with good texture. Alsace Gewurztraminer is the first choice, but German and Chilean varieties would be tasty too. If not, maybe a good, unctuously-textured Pinot Gris - Alsace is the place to look again, but try New Zealand too.


  1. I think duck is probably my favourite meat and yet I don't cook it very often at all. Let this serve as reminder to myself to rectify this. I am intrigued by the tea flavour.

  2. I don't cook it often either! This looks amazing. Alex, you are very clever.

  3. Yummy recipe. Duck is one of those things that you don't have that often so you should make it special when you do!


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