Duck with sea buckthorn

The tart flavour of sea buckthorn berries are an excellent match for duck, says Matt Tebbutt
By Matt Tebbutt
Duck with sea buckthorn
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1-2 hours chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the duck stock

  • 2 duck legs
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the duck

  • 250 ml dark duck stock
  • 100 ml port
  • 4 tbsp sea buckthorn berries, (or juice/syrup if berries unavailable)
  • caster sugar, to taste
  • 2 duck breast
  • 300-500 g samphire, woody stalks removed, washed and dried
  • knob butter

Tips and Suggestions

Bright orange buckthorn berries are thought to be good for the heart and are rather tart in flavour


1. For the duck stock: fry the duck legs in a large deep pan over a medium-low heat until the fat is rendered out and the skin is golden-brown. Add the vegetables fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown.

2. Pour in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add 500ml water and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, topping up occasionally with water if needed. Strain the stock through a sieve and set aside to cool.

3. Chill the stock in the fridge until the fat has risen to the top and solidified. Remove and discard the fat and bring the stock back to a simmer before making the sauce.

4. For the duck: place the sea buckthorn berries and port into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, crushing the berries with the back of a spoon. Add sugar to taste, add the stock and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

5. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the duck breasts, skin side down. Leave until the fat is rendered out and the skin is crisp and golden-brown. Turn over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes (for medium), or until the duck is cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest on warm plates. Pour any resting juices into the pan with the sea buckthorn sauce.

6. Melt a knob of butter in a pan until foaming and add the samphire. Fry for a few minutes, or until tender. Season with a little salt (the samphire should be quite salty already) and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Spoon the samphire onto serving plates. Thickly slice the duck and lay over the samphire, then spoon over the sea buckthorn sauce.

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