Crispy Duck with Apricot & Plum Sauce
For the marinade
4 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
pinch of salt, to taste (optional)
6 whole star anise
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
For the duck
2 duck breasts, skin scored in a criss-cross pattern
1 tbsp groundnut oil
salad leaves, to serve
For the apricot and plum sauce
100ml/3½fl oz water
2 plums, stones removed, quartered
50g/2oz dried apricots, chopped
2½ tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 lime, juice only
For the marinade, place all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl and whisk well to combine.
For the duck, place the duck into the bowl with the marinade, cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 20-25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil, then add the duck skin-side down and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crisp. Transfer the duck onto a baking tray, skin side up, and cook in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
For the apricot and plum sauce, place the water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the plums, apricots, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick and star anise and cook over a medium heat until reduced to a sticky sauce. Take off the heat, strain through a sieve and stir in the lime juice. Discard the spices left behind in the sieve.
To serve, place a duck breast onto each serving plate, pour the sauce over the duck and serve with the salad.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6 first course servings
9 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms
(such as cèpe [porcini], hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered
7 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups arborio rice (8 to 9 ounces)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (optional)
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 6 tablespoons butter, remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.
Bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if using. Transfer risotto to serving bowl. Pass additional Parmesan cheese alongside, if desired.