Pan-fried duck breasts with herb polenta, sherry and raisin sauce

Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 04:00

  • Serves: 6
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins
  • Course:
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 6 duck breasts, patted dry, fat scored
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot,chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 200ml medium sweet Sherry
  • 800ml good quality chicken stock (dilute, if salty)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 1 cold tbsp water
  • 20g butter
  • 50g golden raisins, presoaked in water
  • For the polenta:
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 200g quick cook polenta
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 15g chives or parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper


For the polenta, bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat and vigorously whisk in the polenta until it is lump free. Cover with a cartouche (parchment or greaseproof paper cut to the size of your pot). Cook on lowest heat for five minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and herbs, then spread onto a baking tray lined with clingfilm. Once it is cool, refrigerate.

For the sauce, heat the oil, gently fry the shallot and thyme over a medium high heat till translucent, then add the garlic and cook for one minute. Increase heat, add vinegar, then add the sherry. Simmer for 10 minutes, reducing by half. Add the chicken stock, simmer to reduce sauce to 250ml, then strain into a small saucepan. Stir in the liquid cornflour. Set aside.

Place three duck breasts at a time, skin side down, in a cold pan (or use two pans). Gradually increase the heat, regularly draining rendered fat. At the highest heat, seal the skin for five minutes, until golden and crisp, then flip over and very briefly seal the flesh side, then transfer to an oven preheated to 190 degrees for six to 10 minutes (cut one and return to the oven if not cooked to your liking). Rest the duck, tented in foil, for 10 minutes.

Before serving, cut the polenta into portions, dust with flour and fry to reheat. Bring the sherry sauce to a boil, check the seasoning, whisk in butter, add raisins. Serve with duck breast and polenta on piping hot plates.