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Recipe for :

Duck with Wild Mushrooms and Fig Sauce

This recipes comes from Dancer and Graphic artist Martin James. Martin, who originally comes from New Zealand, is now living with his wife and children in Copenhagen as he is currently principal Dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet. You will be able to find out more about Martin when his Biography page is published.

Being so gifted it seems unfair that Martin should also be talented in the kitchen as well but he has agreed to share some of his recipes with us which is great news.

"A sophisticated dish from chef Roy Breiman of The Restaurant at Meadowood in the Napa Valley. If you can't find duck breasts in your area, purchase two whole ducks, and ask the butcher to remove the breasts for you. Freeze the leg-thigh portions for another use".


30 dried black Mission figs
2 cups dry red wine
2 1/4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cinnamon sticks
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 pound assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as portobello, chanterelle, oyster and stemmed shiitake), thinly sliced
1 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup honey
4 x 6 ounce boneless duck breasts, with skin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh chives (optional)


  • Cut 14 figs in half lengthwise. Combine cut figs, wine, 2 cups broth and cinnamon in medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  • Strain sauce, pressing on solids to release juices. Discard solids. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and ginger; sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup broth and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir in chives. Keep warm.
  • Place remaining 16 figs in small glass baking dish. Drizzle honey over figs. Bake until figs are tender and honey is slightly caramelized, about 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil in another heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add duck breasts, skin side down, and cook 5 minutes.
  • Turn duck breasts over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Spoon mushrooms into center of each plate, dividing equally.
  • Slice duck breasts and arrange atop mushrooms.
  • Rewarm sauce and spoon over duck.
  • Place 4 caramelized figs on each plate. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Serves 4

Martin James