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Grilled Duck Breasts with Piquant Beetroot

his is a lovely way to cook duck breasts to achieve a crisp skin and slightly pink flesh

Serves 4

4 duck breasts, free range if possible

salt and freshly ground pepper

piquant beetroot (see recipe)


sprigs of coriander, mint or flat parsley

Season the duck breasts well with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Score the duck fat well with a sharp knife.  Put the duck breasts onto a cold grill pan fat side down first.  Cook on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the fat is crisp and fully cooked.  Then turn over and continue to cook until fully cooked but still tender and juicy.  Quite a lot of fat will run out and it may be necessary to pour some off the pan.  (Duck breasts take about 15-20 minutes on the fat side depending on the thickness).

Meanwhile prepare the piquant beetroot (see below).

To Serve

Divide the piquant beetroot between 4 hot plates, arrange a crispy duck breast or very thin slices of duck breast on top.  Garnish with a sprig of coriander, mint or flat parsley and serve.


Duck breast may be thinly sliced for an alternative presentation.

Piquant Beetroot

675g (1 1/2lbs) beetroot, cooked

15g (1/2oz/1/8 stick) butter

salt and freshly ground pepper

a sprinkling of sugar

150-175ml (5-6 fl ozs/generous 3/4 cup) cream

Peel the cooked beetroot using rubber gloves for this operation if you are vain!  Chop the beetroot flesh into 2cm (3/4 inch) cubes.  Melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the beetroot and toss gently. Add the cream, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar and allow to bubble for a few minutes.  Taste and add a little lemon juice if necessary.  The beetroot can be served immediately or reheated later.

How to cook Beetroot

Leave 5cm (2 inch) of leaf stalks on top and the whole root on the beet. Hold it under a running tap and wash off the mud with the palms of your hands, so that you don't damage the skin; otherwise the beetroot will bleed during cooking. Cover with cold water and add a little salt and sugar. Cover the pot, bring to the boil and simmer on top, or in an oven, for 1-2 hours depending on size. Beetroot are usually cooked if the skin rubs off easily and if they dent when pressed with a finger.  If in doubt test with a skewer or the tip of a knife.

This is a recipe by
Darina Allen
View all my recipes

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