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Corn-fed Duck Breast with Fermented Grains

Preparation time
20 mins plus 5 days soaking
Cooking time
20 mins

Corn-fed duck gives extra flavour to chef Max Paganoni's dish and the Red Hill Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect foil for its richness. The Pinot's red fruit power matches that of the duck, while the acidity and savouriness help to just lift all elements of the dish. 


4 duck breasts

2 litres full cream milk

125ml lemon juice

5 tbsp salt

1.2 litres water

150g each of buckwheat kernels, millet seed, pearl barley and cracked freekah

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

60ml aged balsamic vinegar

2 cups chicken stock

Baby spinach, cherries and bronze fennel fronds, to serve


1. Place milk in a saucepan and with a thermometer, bring to a simmer of 90°C.  Add lemon juice, let stand for 5 minutes. Pour through a sieve lined with muslin cloth, (curds can be used in another recipe). Place a saucepan over low heat, add whey, salt and water, stir to dissolve the salt. Cool completely, refrigerate.    

2. Place grains in whey ferment, make sure to have enough space between the grains and the top of the liquid as they will absorb over time. Cover with muslin cloth, leave for 5 days at room temperature. Drain grains.  

3. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add grains and cook for 12 minutes or until al dente. Add olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

4. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Pat dry duck breasts, score the skin in a criss cross design, season with sea salt. Heat an oven proof pan on medium heat, sear duck, skin side down, for 2-3 minutes until skin becomes golden, turn and sear for a further 1 minute on the underside. Place in the oven for 7 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 

5. Return pan to the stove and deglaze with balsamic vinegar and chicken stock and reduce until slightly thickened.

6. Serve duck with grains, spinach and sauce. Garnish with cherries and bronze fennel fronds.


Chefs note:  You need to start this recipe 5 days before serving.


Wine Match: Red Hill Estate Cool Climate Pinot Noir 2016

Preparation time
20 mins plus 5 days soaking
Cooking time
20 mins

Wine match

Red Hill Estate Cool Climate Pinot Noir 2016
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Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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