How to make a festive supper of Angelic duck breasts and an Alpine roll

30 November 2018


ADVENT comes once again, and the sound of angels.

Wanting to cook some duck breasts with prunes recently, I played with the idea of angels on horseback, and came up with Angelic duck breasts, which incorporates autumnal flavours.

4 duck breasts
1 onion
100g (3 oz) bacon lardons
1 tablespoon port
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
1 teaspoon cornflour
250g (8 oz) pitted prunes
450ml (1 pt) chicken stock

Score the skin of the duck breasts, season, and lay them skin-side down in a hot frying pan. Fat will soon come out, and, after a minute or so, with the skin nicely coloured, turn over and continue cooking on the flesh side for up to five minutes, on a medium heat. Remove to a plate or low oven to keep warm.

Peel and chop the onion, and fry it in the duck fat. As it goes soft and starts to colour, add the lardons and cook them through. Deglaze the pan with the port, then stir in the vinegar, tomato purée, and redcurrant jelly.

Mix the cornflour with a little water, then add this in and stir through, with the prunes. Gradually add the chicken stock, and bring to the boil; then reduce to a simmer. This will take 5-10 minutes.

Once ready, move the duck breasts to a board, and carve each into slices. Flip them over, and arrange on the plate, covered with the sauce.

We can safely say that winter is a-coming in. The shops and TV adverts are full of snowy scenes and the tinkle of Christmas bells. Never be put off by how simple it is to make a pudding. This Alpine roll takes minutes; it’s hardly a recipe, and came from my wanting to do something else with mincemeat beyond pies. I like rum in the cream, but you can use Cointreau, brandy, or even advocaat.

500g (17 oz) block of puff pastry
400g (14 oz) jar of mincemeat
150g (5 oz) white chocolate
350ml (9 fl. oz) double cream
125ml rum

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Roll out the pastry to the size of a tea towel. Thinly spread the mincemeat over it, but not too close to the edges. Lightly roll it up from one short edge over to the other, and put it in the oven for 20 minutes — but probably no more than 30. The pastry needs to be cooked and crispy.

Melt the white chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler. Lightly whip the rum into the cream, then stir in the melted chocolate. Pour this over the top of the pastry roll and shake over some icing sugar if you are so minded. Even decorating with some holly can add to this — the real stuff, or glacé cherries and green angelica.

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