Monday, May 12, 2014

Sous Vide Duck Breast with Black Berry Sauce

Yesterday was Mother's Day. How did you celebrate this special day?

No celebration is complete without great food, lovingly prepared. Just like previous years, I cooked a proper meal for my wife to thank her for giving me three wonderful gifts that have brought joy, pain, love, pride, and much more into my life.

As we were discussing what to cook for this year’s Mother’s Day dinner, Ashley suggested duck breast and I thought it was a good idea.

Duck is a remarkable meat and , like beef, it is best served pink. I had posted a sous vide duck breast recipe before and this time I prepared the duck meat using the same sous vide method. However for this dinner, I decided to have more side dishes that would complement the taste and flavour of the savoury duck meat and at the same time provide a healthy and balanced combination. Visually, I injected more colours and adopted an interesting free-form plating style.

"Daddy, it looks like a garden!" said Ashton when his meal was served.

Both the girls requested for more duck.

Wife gave the nod.

I smiled.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 pcs fresh duck breast
Spring of thyme leaves
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Sweet potato puree
4 sweet potato (peeled and cut into small sections)
20g butter
1/2 cup double cream
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper

Red wine caramelised onion
1 big onion (peeled and sliced)
20g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper

Fregola Sarda
1 cup fregola sarda 
1/2 carrot (peeled and chopped)
1/2 celery stick (chopped)
1/2 onion (peeped and chopped)
2 tbsp goose/duck fat (or butter)
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp mixed herbs
salt and pepper
wine wine

Sautéed Mushroom
12-15 mini king oyster mushroom (or small mushrooms of your choice)
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt and pepper
white wine

Black Berry Sauce
12-15 fresh black berry
1 clove garlic (peeled and slice thickly)
1 clove shallot (peeled and slice thickly)
1 tsp black peppercorn
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or any fruit-based vinegar)
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 sprig rosemary

Micro green of your choice


Wash and pat dry the duck breast meat.

Score the skin using a very sharp knife. Season the duck meat with sea salt on the skin side and sea salt, pepper and thyme on the meat side.

Pack the meat into sous vide bag (one to each bag) and seal.

Cook meat in Sous Vide machine at 57C for 2 hours.

Remove duck breast from bag and pat dry all sides with kitchen towel.

Heat a pan (no oil), and sear the duck meat skin side down for 5 minutes or until skin becomes golden and crispy.

Turn the meat over and cook the meat side for another 30 seconds.

Let the cooked meat rest for 5 minutes before cutting. This provides the juices time to redistribute in the meat and doesn’t run out.

Sweet potato puree
Boil the sweet potato until cooked. Drain.

Add cream, milk and butter. Blend mixture into a smooth puree. 

Add salt and pepper to taste. Put aside.

Red wine caramelised onion
Heat up a sauce pan with olive oil. Melt butter.

Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes. Add sugar and red wine and cook very slowly for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from catching. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put aside.

Set aside.

Fregola Sarda
Boil fregola sarda until al dente. Drained and put aside.

Heat up duck fat in a hot pan. Add garlic and stir fry, do not burn. Add chopped carrot, celery and onion and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add fregola sarda. Mix well with the mirepoix and add white wine and mixed herbs. Fry until all ingredient are cooked and well mixed. Salt and pepper to taste. Put aside.

Sautéed Mushroom
Heat duck fat in a frying pan.

Add garlic and stir fry making sure it does not burn. Add whole mushrooms and toss until all mushrooms are golden brown and caramelized. Add white wine and season with salt and pepper.

Lower heat and continue to toss until mushrooms are tender. Put aside.

Black Berry Sauce
Put all ingredients (except the blackberry) in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer until sugar melts and sauce is thicken and infused with flavors of all the ingredients. Add blackberry, cook for another minute and turn off the heat. Put aside.


Scoop a big spoonful of the sweet puree and, in a quick motion, spread it diagonally across the plate (Use square or rectangular flat plates).

Using a food pincer, make a rectangular bed of the caramelized onion at the smaller end of the puree.

Line up 2 tbsps of the fregola sarda “parallel” to the puree.

Cut the duck breast into finger-thick slices. Place one piece of the duck on the bed of caramelized onion and randomly place the others (3-4 pcs) evenly on the plate. Some sitting upright and some lying down.

Randomly place the mushrooms around the plate, filling up any empty space.

Add micro green evenly around.

Finish it with the blackberry sauce. Spoon the black berry and sauce over the duck meat.

Bon appetite.

For starter, I assembled a platter of burrata cheese with 20-month aged Italian prosciutto and wild rocket leaves. This is so easy to assemble but one of my all-time favourite starter. The texture and flavor of the creamy burrata, savoury prosciutto and nutty rocket leaves combine and complement perfectly with one another.

Dessert was a quick and simple hot caramel banana with ice cream.


  1. Oooooo....breast!!! My favourite part! Of the duck, I mean. Now, what were you thinking? Hehehehehehe!!!! Yum! Yum! I super-duper love duck!!! Can have it at home and can't order outside...if my missus is tagging along - she does not eat it! Tsk! Tsk!

  2. Alvin, your wife and children are so lucky to be able to have a 5-star fine dining experience without leaving home. You have done an excellent job as always!

  3. Another good recipes … A chef ability to be good at a range of course, Have extensive experience of specialty diets and food training.
    Los Angeles Personal Chef

  4. Wow looks amazing, can I enquire where you got your fregola from? I've been wanting to cook that for a while :D

    1. Hi Joyce! You can get it from Huber's Butchery @ Dempsey.


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