Duck, cannellini beans, marsala & rosemary


This is a simple suppers Nigel Slater jobby, and as such requires very few ingredients and absolutely minimal effort. Like, zero. You can imagine a version of this dish that would take hours: slow braised and stewed beans with onion and bacon and carrots, with perhaps an enriched, glossy meaty sauce, cabbage on the side. But this isn’t a Sunday dinner, no. It’s a quick 30minute or less kind week dinner that comes very close to achieving the sort of rich creaminess you’d want in your Sunday lunch. We both agreed that we would have liked a fruity meaty jus or similar with this – but that, I think Mr Slater would agree, is not in the spirit of simple suppers.


You will need:

2 large plump free range duck breasts, well scored, seasoned and trimmed of excess fat
5 sprigs of rosemary
2 x 320g tins of cannellini beans
350ml or so chicken stock or water
1 tbspn marsala wine
Salt, pepper

That’s it!



1 – place the duck breasts skin side down in a non stick large frying pan. Turn on the heat to high and wait for them to start sizzling and releasing fat, about 3 mins, before adding 3 sprigs of the rosemary
2 – After the duck has been cooking for around five minutes, when the skin is really crisp and golden, turn them over and tip in the beans in most of their juices/water
3 – Season the beans and add the marsala, and gradually add a little stock or water to prevent the beans drying
4 – After 6-8 minutes or so, depending on the size of your duck and how you like it cooked, remove the duck from the pan and leave to rest. If like me you like a crisp duck skin, place the breasts skin side up under a super hot grill for a minute or two before leaving them to rest
5 – After the duck has rested for 5 minutes slice it up and serve over the beans, which you can mash up a little before serving to achieve a nice soft consistency. Serve with extra rosemary sprigs and any duck resting juices.



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