Duck breast with balsamic glaze, farro and cavolo nero

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

This wintry dish would go well with an earthy pinot. You could replace the cavalo nero with kale, or broccolini sauteed with garlic. Duck breasts are now commonly available from supermarkets.


200g (1 cup) farro (or use pearl barley)

375ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock

4 x 250g duck breasts

1 bunch cavolo nero, trimmed (or use kale)

125ml (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar

50g unsalted butter, chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 200C. Soak the farro in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain. Place in a saucepan with the chicken stock and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes.

2. While the farro is standing, cook the duck. Season the duck breasts generously with sea salt. Heat a large ovenproof non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and cook the duck breasts, skin side down, for 6 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Finally, brown the edges of the duck breasts by holding them with tongs and ensuring they get some colour on all sides. Alternatively, use the side of the pan to hold them in the right position. Transfer the pan to the oven, with the duck breasts skin side up, and cook for 3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and rest on a warm plate, loosely covered with foil.

4. Drain the fat from the pan (there's no need to wipe it clean), add the balsamic vinegar and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the butter, stirring as it melts to combine and make a rich glaze.

5. Heat a separate frying pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the farro and cavolo nero for 2 minutes, or until the farro is heated through and the cavolo nero is fully cooked. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Spoon the farro and cavolo nero onto serving plates. Slice the duck and place on top of the farro. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve.