Pan-fried Duck Breast with Beetroot and Caramelised Walnuts




  • 3 medium-sized beetroot
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup walnut pieces, roasted
  • 6 single duck breasts (about 200g each), skin
 cut through to the flesh in a criss-cross pattern
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml red wine
  • 250ml beef jus 
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • radicchio leaves, for serving


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the unpeeled beetroot in a small ovenproof dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour or until very tender. Remove from the oven and cool. Peel and cut into thin wedges. Reserve.

Lightly oil a heatproof tray. Put the sugar in a small saucepan over gentle heat and allow it to melt, without stirring. Cook gently until light golden in colour. Add the walnut pieces, mix quickly and pour onto the tray. Cool then crush or chop into small pieces. Reserve.

Put the duck, pepper and olive oil in a bowl and toss well. Heat a large frying pan over moderate heat and gently fry the duck breasts for 8 minutes on the skin side and 4 minutes on the flesh side. Remove the duck from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the fat from the pan (save it for roasting potatoes) and add the wine. Let it bubble for 20 seconds then add the beetroot and beef jus. Boil until the mixture is slightly syrupy. Add the balsamic, taste and season.

Place some radicchio leaves on a warm serving platter. Slice the duck breasts across the grain of the meat. Place the duck on the radicchio and pour the beetroot and sauce over the top. Sprinkle the walnuts on top and serve.