300 ml demi glaze (you can also use a beef stock jelly made up to 300 ml with boiling water)
200 ml balsamic vinegar
50 g butter
This method is laid out in two halves. The first half should be done the day before your dinner party. The second half is completed when you are serving dinner.
This way you can have all your preparation done and the majority of your pots pans and chopping boards are clean and put away before your guests arrive leaving you free to enjoy the evening along with everyone else.
For the Duck:
Very little preparation is required of the duck the day before. You could just score the fat crisscross and season with a little salt. This will help to break down the fat when the time comes to cook it.
For the Dauphinoise Potatoes:
Begin by peeling all the potatoes and leaving them in a bowl of water.
Line deep oven tray (try to choose one that you have two of and that one can fit inside the other for pressing later!) with grease proof paper.
Place the milk, cream, garlic, thyme, seasoning and nutmeg into a pot and bring gently to a simmer, set to one side. Now use a Mandelin or the slicing blade attachment on the food processor to slice all the potatoes into thin even rounds, like crisps.
Layer the potatoes on top of the grease proof paper and pour the cream mix, through a sieve, over the potatoes ensuring you cover them.
Place a sheet of grease proof paper over the top before covering with tin foil.
Place in a pre heated oven at 170 degrees for 45 minutes. Allow to cool enough to be placed in the fridge before placing the second tray on top of the other. Place this in the fridge with a carton of milk or something similar on top to press it down over night. This will give you really firm potatoes, easy to slice and more presentable.
For the Cauliflower Purée:
Cut the cauliflower into small, even sized florets. Place in a pot with the water, cream and a pinch of salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 15min or until the cauliflower is soft and easy to crush. Pour into a jug blender and blend until smooth.
For the Balsamic Jus:
Pour the balsamic vinegar into a hot pot and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half and half again. Now add the demi glaze or the beef stock jelly and water. Bring to a simmer and cool before placing in the fridge until ready for part two.
For the Potatoes:
Begin about 20-30 minutes before you wish to serve the meal. Firstly cut the potatoes into whatever shape you wish for a portion. I like to cut them into triangle, there is very little waste this way and gives a contrasting shape to a round plate.
Once cut place on grease proof paper on a tray in the oven at 160 degrees.
For the Duck Breast:
This will only take 20 minutes to cook. On a moderately hot pan place the duck fat side down, no oil is required on the pan but you should season the breast well.
Keep the duck over the moderate heat with the fat side down for as long as possible, from time to time, pour off any excess fat. Once the fat is a dark golden brown turn the breast to the flesh side and continue to cook for just 4-5 more minutes.
Now remove the breast from the pan, pour off all the fat and return the pan to a high heat, add the honey and pistachios along with the duck, turn the duck in the honey for a minute or two and now place on a tray in the oven with the potatoes until ready to serve.
For the Cauliflower Purée and Balsamic Jus:
Simply place both of these into small pots over a low heat until hot through and ready to serve.
For the Baby Leek:
In a pot of boiling salted water place the leeks for just 4 minutes.
Strain and brush with a little butter.
Place in the oven with the meat and potatoes for what should be just 3-4 minutes while you heat the remaining ingredients.
Ensure the plates you are going to use a hot first!
Place the potatoes to one side of the plate.
Dredge some of the puree across the opposite side.
Now cut a small piece from each end of the duck breast before cutting in half and placing on the plate, crisscross the leeks around the plate.
Now drizzle the sauce over the breast and serve, enjoy!