I can’t think of anything more comforting on an icy winter’s night like the ones we’ve been having lately than this warmly-spiced duck breast. I’ve borrowed a classic Cantonese sweet-and-spicy “char siu” preparation – usually applied to pork rather than duck – and upped its health-quotient by adding fresh ginger and garlic, oven-roasting rather than barbecuing the meat, and omitting the habitual helping of red food dye that makes for the more dramatic-looking versions served in many Chinese restaurants. Serves 4.
2 large duck breasts, fatty skin scored in a fine grid-shape with a sharp knife
2 tbsp acacia honey
2 tbsp tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce (if you can’t find this, use “Nuoc Mam” fish sauce available in most French supermarkets)
½ tsp Chinese 5-spice (if not available, use a large pinch of ground aniseed, fennel, cinnamon, clove and ginger)
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 finely minced clove garlic
Mix all the marinade ingredients and marinate meat for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, turning once or twice during the process.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the duck breasts on a wire grid sitting in a roasting tin lined with foil (to make washing-up easier) and slide into the oven. Baste every 8 to 10 minutes with the remaining marinade, using a pastry brush. After 25-30 minutes (depending on how done you like your meat; 25 minutes is medium-rare, 30 minutes is pink), remove the tin from the oven, place meat on a warmed serving plate and cover with foil. Leave for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Slice breasts finely and serve immediately on warmed plates.