Duck breast, cauliflower and chick peas

The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa, Somerset

1 whole duck

Duck sauce
1 large onion, chopped
200g celery, chopped
200g carrot, chopped
200g beetroot, chopped
Roasted carcass from duck
375ml dry white wine
500ml chicken stock
500ml veal stock
15g thyme

2 large cauliflowers
250ml vegetable stock
200g butter
10g marmite

Chick peas
200g cooked chick peas
50ml olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 strips orange zest
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds 50ml orange juice
15ml red wine vinegar

100g feta
2 sprigs of mint

Serves 2

At the moment we use a salt chamber duck breast which means they have been hung as a whole duck for a month in a chamber of salt, an old fashioned method of preserving and one I find that results in a much thinner skin than usual, which in turn allows us to crisp up the skin and cook the breast evenly throughout. This is virtually the only meat on the menu that I water bath at the moment as it really helps get an even cooking.

Start by separating the duck breasts and legs from the carcass. Cut the breasts away from the legs and trim off any excess fat: we also quickly go over the skin of the duck with a blow torch to remove any small feather traces. Vac pac for 45 minutes at 52˚C, then remove from the bag, season with rock salt and cook under the grill on a high even heat for 8 minutes. A similar result can be achieved by pan frying. Let the duck rest.

For the duck sauce sweat off all of the herbs and vegetables then add the roasted bones: it is critical that these are roasted to a nice golden brown colour. Add the wine and thyme and reduce by half, then add both the stocks and reduce by half again: this needs to be done quickly on a high heat otherwise the sauce just tastes of stewed vegetables. Pass through a fine sieve and reduce again to the desired consistency.

Cut the cauliflower into wedges and cook in a hot frying pan as you would a fondant. Once a nice golden brown add the stock and butter and keep basting for around half an hour until the butter and liquid is absorbed and the cauliflower is cooked. Finally drain off the butter and brush marmite over the cauliflower to give a nice yeasty flavour.

Chop the cauliflower trimmings to make a purée, cooking in a separate pan with the drained melted butter. Don’t add anything else, just allow it to cook and cook and stir regularly so it doesn’t burn. Blitz and pass to a lovely smooth thick purée and season with salt.

For the chick pea garnish sweat off all of the dry ingredients in the olive oil until the flavours come out, then add the chick peas, vinegar, orange juice, and enough water to cover, and cook for a further half an hour. I garnish the final dish with crumbled feta and fresh sprigs of mint for a combination of fatty and salty flavours which work really well together.