Baharat Duck with Green Bean & Walnut Puree

I just love duck – it’s one of my favourite things to eat. Period. I made dish tonight as a little treat for “officially”, and finally becoming an Australian permanent resident. Not that there’s ANYTHING remotely Australian about this dish mind you – more Middle Eastern. The earthy bean puree together with the gamey, sweet duck was meltingly delicious. Baharat (meaning “spice” in Arabic) is a blend of spices used throughout the Middle East. You can find it, pre mixed in some delis but I have included a simple recipe to make you own if you can’t track it down.

300g green beans
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh coriander (chopped)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

2 duck breasts
2 teaspoons Baharat spice mix*

*Baharat spice mix (makes more than you need but will keep for months in a sealed container)
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon whole cloves
7 whole cardamom
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 cinnamon quill (crumbled roughly)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 whole nutmeg (grated)
2 tablespoons sweet paprika

To make spice mix:
Heat a small frying pan until hot then add the cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon and coriander seeds and dry fry for 1-2 minutes until aromatic and lightly browned. Grind together in a spice grinder or pestle & mortar until you have a fine powder. Stir in the grated nutmeg and paprika. Place in a small sealable container it’ll be fine for months!

To make the puree:
Cook the beans in a little water for 10 minutes until soft. Drain, then cool slightly. Whiz the walnuts in a food processor until fine and crumb like. Add the garlic, coriander and parsley and whiz again. Add the beans and whiz again until you have a smooth puree add a tablespoon or two of water until you have a mayonnaise like consistency. Stir in the red wine vinegar and add a little salt and pepper to taste. If you want a super smooth puree, then pass it through a fine sieve. Serve at room temperature.

To cook the duck:
Trim the excess fat from the breasts and then score the skin crossways with a sharp knife. Rub each duck breast with a little salt and 1 teaspoon of the Baharat spice mix. Set aside for about 20 minutes.

Heat a small frying pan without any oil till hot, add the duck, skin side down and cook for 6-7 minutes. Turn over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, basting the skin with the oil that has come out. Rest for 3-4 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve the duck with a little puree. I served mine with a lovely buttery Persian style rice with sultanas, spinach and apricots.

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