Middle eastern duck breast

Pomegranate molasses is a richly concentrated syrup and is available in the Middle Eastern section of speciality food stores and in some larger supermarkets. Ras el hanout is a North African blend of spices. If you can't find it, use garam masala instead.


4 duck breasts, skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

100 g (3 1/2 oz/1 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock

1 1/4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 1/2 teaspoons soft brown sugar

60 g (2 1/4 oz/2 cups) loosely packed watercress, trimmed

large handful parsley

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout 

2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves


1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed


1. Score the duck skin in a criss-cross pattern 1 cm (1/2 inch) apart, sprinkle with salt and place the breasts in a single layer on a plate. Put the plate in a steamer and cover with a lid. Sit the steamer over a saucepan or wok of simmering water and steam for 10–15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the duck and individual taste. The duck should remain pink in the centre. Remove and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the walnuts, stir to coat in the oil for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Add the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and sugar and purée using a stick blender or regular blender. Continue to cook the sauce, stirring, for 1–2 minutes, or until thickened to a mayonnaise consistency.

3. Mix together the dressing ingredients and place in a bowl with the watercress, parsley and red onion. Toss gently until well coated.

4. In a small saucepan gently heat the honey and ras el hanout. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat, place the duck, skin side down, in the pan and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the fat starts to render and the skin becomes golden. Remove the breasts from the pan and drain off the oil. Brush both sides with the honey mixture, then return to the pan and cook for 1 minute each side.

5. Allow the duck to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Spoon some walnut sauce on each plate and sprinkle with coriander, place the sliced duck on top and serve with the watercress salad.