First I cooked the red cabbage. This can easily be done ahead of time. It was shredded and sautéed in olive oil with some sliced onions and crushed juniper berries. Then, I added a large glass of red wine, half a cinnamon stick, salt and pepper and simmered it for around 45 minutes. At the end of this time I stirred in a splash of red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly.
The next thing was to cook the fondant potatoes.
These are simple enough. You cut little drum shapes from some large white potatoes, I like to use Desirée, and sauté them in butter in a saucepan with a lid on both flat sides for about 5 minutes each side. Then you add a couple of cloves of garlic, a couple of sprigs of thyme and enough chicken stock to half cover the potatoes and cook them covered, on a low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The duck breasts are trimmed and salted on the fat side, which you have slashed and left for about an hour.
To cook, you heat up a plain black iron pan until smoking hot and sear the breasts skin side down until the fat runs and the skin has crisped up. Then you turn them over and leave them in a hot oven for about four or five minutes.
Some people like duck rare and very pink. This is OK but I like it a bit more medium than that myself, so I leave it to rest for a minute or two while I plate up.
I like to use the buttery reduced stock from the potatoes spooned over the potatoes and the duck.
You really need a decent red with this and, to my mind, Bordeaux offers the ideal companion. We drank a young Haut-Médoc, a 2009 Château Rollin. Although this is quite young, it is a wine in a pretty forward style, I think, and has plenty of fresh red cherry on the palate and a nice balance of fruit and acidity. Not really an oaky wine, I think it benefits from being drunk young.