Duck Breasts with Roast Root Vegetables

David Massey's succulent marinated duck is served with tasty vegetables, barley and a fabulous fruity dressing
By Paul Bloxham
Duck Breasts with Roast Root Vegetables
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus up to 12 hrs marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the marinated duck breasts

  • 4 x 175 g duck breast, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 4-5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil

For the vegetables

  • 6 beetroot, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 6 carrots, thickly sliced lengthways
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the barley

  • 300 g pearl barley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped

For the dressing

  • 3 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp apple brandy
  • 1 tbsp sweet cider
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp marjoram, coarsely chopped


1. To marinade the duck: Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts, taking care to not pierce the flesh.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, bruise the juniper berries and combine with the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, a pinch of salt and the oil.

3. Pour the marinade over the duck breasts and coat well. Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 1hr 30 minutes, longer if possible and preferably over night.

4. To make the pearl barley accompaniment: rinse the barley and put in a large pan with plenty of salted, cold water. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

5. Drain the barley, tip into a bowl, drizzle with the oil and add the parsley and the spring onions, stirring to combine. Cover and set aside.

6. To make the dressing: in a dry frying pan lightly toast the fennel seeds over a medium heat for about 30 seconds or until you can small a nutty aroma. Allow to cool and set aside.

7. Mix the fennel seeds with the garlic, apple brandy, cider, oil and marjoram. Season well with salt and pepper.

8. For the vegetables: preheat the oven to 240°C/gas 9.

9. Toss the beetroot and carrots with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

10. Spread the vegetables on a baking tray in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender, but still hold their shape.

11. While the vegetables are cooking, you can deal with your duck.

12. For the duck: shake off the marinade from the duck breasts and put skin side down in a heavy, oven-proof frying pan over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

13. Turn over the breasts and continue cooking in the oven for about 8 minutes, alongside the vegetables until tender.

14. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes

15. To serve: divide the roast vegetables and barley between the plates. Slice the duck crossways on the diagonal into four or five. Arrange on the plate next to the barley and roast vegetables and scoop a tablespoon of the dressing over the duck.

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