Olive Magazine

John Torode's peppered duck breast with celeriac mash and thyme

Published: December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • serves 4

Duck breasts make a great main course for entertaining - they are quick to cook and full of flavour. This easy recipe serves them in a creamy, peppery thyme sauce with celeriac mash.



  • 125ml milk
  • 500g celeriac, peeled and cut into
  • small pieces
  • olive oil
  • a squeeze lemon juice
  • a small bunch parsley
  • 50g black peppercorns
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy, optional


  • STEP 1

    Put the milk and the celeriac in a pan with 100ml olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and enough water to just cover. Season then bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes with the lid off until the celeriac is tender. Remove from the heat, strain off the liquid and keep. Roughly mash the celeriac with a fork. Mix in the parsley and a little cooking juice to make a soft consistency. Gently reheat before serving.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. To make the black pepper crust, roughly grind the peppercorns in a spice grinder. pour the pepper into a fine sieve and shake gently. The kibble that is left over is for the crust. Score the skin of the duck with a criss-cross pattern and coat with the crushed black peppercorns. Heat a tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry the duck breasts skin-side down for about 6-8 minutes until golden. Turn the breasts over, put the pan in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Take out the duck breasts, bring the juices back to the boil. Add the cream and the thyme, and the brandy (if using) and bubble for a few minutes until reduced a little. Reheat the mash and divide between two plates. Arrange slices of duck breast on top and pour the sauce over.


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