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Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 34-42 minutes
Stand 5 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme or a pinch of dried
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons port
300ml (1/2 pint) good chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g (4oz) blackberries
½ teaspoon cornflour mixed with a little water, optional
375g (13oz) pack of 2 duck breasts
175g (6oz) Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Pinch grated nutmeg
Steamed asparagus and Potatoes dauphinoise to serve
1 Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and carrot and fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time until the vegetables are a deep golden brown. Take the pan off the heat and add the garlic, herbs and nutmeg then the vinegar and port.
2 Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated then add the stock and salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until reduced by about one third. Strain and reserve.
3 Preheat the oven to 220oC (425oF) Gas Mark 7. Slash the skin of each duck breast, 4 or 5 times then rub in a little salt and pepper. Add the breasts skin side downward to a cold frying pan and cook over a low heat for 6 minutes until the skin is just turning golden. Turn them over and cook for 1 minute.
4 Lift the duck out of the pan and transfer to a rack in a small roasting tin, skin side uppermost. Roast for 10 minutes for rare, 15 minutes for medium or 18 minutes for well done.
5 Meanwhile, pour off most of the duck fat from the frying pan to leave about 1 tablespoon, add the sprouts and stir fry over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until softened and golden brown around the edges. Add the garlic, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Cover and keep hot.
Allow the duck breast to rest for 3-5 minutes. Add the blackberries to the sauce and warm through. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add the cornflour and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring. Carve each duck breast into 4 or 5 slices. Arrange the sprouts on serving plates, top with the duck and spoon over a little sauce, serving the remainder in a small jug. Accompany with steamed asparagus and baked potatoes dauphinoise.