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Introduction

Chicory, otherwise known as Belgium Endive, is a winter salad grown in the dark similar to the forced rhubarb grown famously in West Yorkshire. A popular ingredient in the pro kitchens but underused by the home chef, it's flavour is fresh, slightly peppery and with a bitter finish it pairs perfect with rich duck and its sweet flavour profile, as well as with game birds and roast chicken.  Here I cook the chicory until tender and caramalised and use the juices to add extra flavour to the plate.

Method

This recipe is inspired by our brilliant and hand seasonal eating guide. Download for yourself here.

Method for the chicory:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
  2. Lightly butter an ovenproof tray and arrange the chicory side by side in the dish, scatter over the garlic cloves and lightly season with sea salt and thyme sprigs.
  3. Mix 1 tbsp. orange juice with the maple syrup and the sherry vinegar, then drizzle over the chicory. Dot with the butter then bake in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes, turning the chicory once if they're getting too dark. They need to be tender when pierced with a knife.
  4. Grate a little orange zest over the chicory for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Method for duck breast:

  1. Preheat oven 200°C /180°C fan assisted (gas 6)
  2. Remove your duck out of the packaging, pat dry and bring to room temperature
  3. Score the skin with a sharp knife being careful not to cut the flesh then season with sea salt
  4. Pre heat a griddle or heavy based frying pan over low to medium heat & place the breasts skin side down onto the pan to render & crisp the skin draining away any excess fat as it renders (keep this for amazing roast potatoes) before searing the meat side, flip back onto the skin then transfer to a pre heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes reaching a core temperature of 54°C for pink meat before resting
  5. Leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before carving.

To serve:

  • Carve the duck into 2 thick slices across the breast then place onto warm serving plates with the roast chicory, walnut vinaigrette and the reserved orange segments.