Hay Smoked Duck Breast

Hay smoked duck breast and leg pithiver with celeriac purée and cassis jus

Created by SERC (2018/19)

Course: Main

Servings: 4

Students: Adam Proctor, Matthew McGivern, Adam Jones

Lecturer: Ian Thompson

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Duck breast & pithivier
hay for smoking
1 large duck, breasts and legs removed, and the carcass retained
1ltr chicken stock
¼ sheet of puff pastry
10g of butter, melted
1 egg

Celeriac purée
¼ celeriac, weighing 100g, peeled and cut Macedoine
50ml of milk
50ml of double cream

Fondant potatoes
2 large baking potatoes
500ml of chicken stock
50g of unsalted butter

Cassis jus
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, cut in half length ways and sliced thinly
1 sprig of fresh thyme
100ml of red wine
50ml of crème de cassis

Vegetable garnish
2 baby carrots, peeled and sliced on a mandolin
4 spring onions/baby leeks
50g of butter

To plate
2 tbsp of Burren balsamic blackcurrant vinegar
blackcurrant powder


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
  2. Roast the duck carcass and leg bones in the oven until golden, drain off the fat by placing in a colander.

Prepare the pithivier 

  1. For the duck pithivier, remove the bones from both duck legs by tunnel boning. Remove the skin, separate the thigh from the drum stick. Place the legs into a pressure cooker and cover with chicken stock.
  2. Bring to the boil on the stove, put the lid on and pressure cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully release the pressure from the cooker, take the duck out of the pan and shred the meat. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Take the puff pastry and cut out 8 circles, 4 for bases and four slightly larger for the tops. Brush the edges of the bottoms with egg wash and place the duck mix into the centre of each base. Place the pastry top and seal the edges, pushing out any trapped air. Mark the tops with the traditional curved lines emanating from the centre. Brush will egg wash and chill.


Prepare the celeriac purée 

  1. For the celeriac purée, put the diced celeriac in a thick bottomed saucepan and just cover with water.
  2. Put the other ingredients in and season lightly. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer until celeriac is soft. Pass the celeriac through a course sieve but keep the cooking liquor. Add the celeriac puree to a Themomix or blender and pour some of the cooking liquid.
  3. Blitz till smooth, adding the cooking liquor until the purée reached the required consistency.
  4. Check the seasoning and pass again to make sure it’s smooth. Place into a container and chill.

Prepare the jus

  1. Make the jus by heating up a thick bottomed pan on a medium heat with a little duck fat and add all the jus vegetables into it. Colour the vegetables and keep stirring until golden.
  2. Add the thyme, duck carcass and the alcohol. Increase the heat and reduce the alcohol to a syrup. Add the veal stock.
  3. Reduce this stock by 3/4 at a simmer and skim off any scum. Pass the stock into a clean pan.
  4. Place back on the stove and check for seasoning and consistency.

Prepare the fondant potatoes

  1. Make 8 fondant potatoes using a small metal cutter.
  2. Heat a thick-bottomed frying pan on a medium heat. Add the butter. Once it starts to foam, place the 8 potato cylinders into the butter with the neatest flat side down.
  3. Once they start to colour turn them onto the other side and pour in your chicken stock
  4. Bring to the boil and place into an oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked. Once cooked, discard the liquor and keep warm until needed.

Prepare the duck breast

  1. Lay the duck breast skin side down and trim any visible excess skin. Turn skin side up and score the skin in a criss-cross pattern to help render the fat.
  2. Place the breasts in a smoker and cold smoke for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the seasoned breasts into a cold thick bottomed pan skin side down. Increase the heat to medium and render the fat from the breasts.
  4. When the skin starts to crisp turn the breast over and place the pan into the oven at 180°C for approximately 8 minutes. The breast should reach a core temperature of be around 55°C. Leave to rest and carve just before service.
  5. Place the pithivier in the oven at the same time. Cook till golden brown and risen.
  6. For the vegetable garnish, blanch and refresh the baby leeks then tie each in a knot. 

To serve

  1. Sauté the sliced carrots and baby leeks in a pan with 25g of butter and one tablespoon of water.
  2. Place a swipe of the warmed celeriac purée on the plate.
  3. Brush the duck breasts with the blackcurrant dressing and cut in half lengthways. Cut each half into three and arrange the 3 pieces of duck breast pieces onto each celeriac swipe.
  4. Arrange a pithivier on each plate along with 2 fondants and arrange the rest of the hot vegetable garnish on the celeriac purée.
  5. Dress the plate with the jus and a drizzle of the blackcurrant balsamic. Dress the edge of the plate with the dehydrated blackcurrant dust and serve.

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