Sophie Michell's Oven-baked duck breasts with green olive, thyme and sweet sherry sauce


Serves 4

400g maris piper (or similar potatoes)
4 duck breasts
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch of thyme
400g large pitted green olives
300ml of sweet sherry
Preheat the oven to 200C.


Firstly cut the potatoes into rough pieces and place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive and sea salt. Then squash the garlic and also add, with the skin on, to the potatoes. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Whilst they are cooking you can start on the duck breasts. Take a medium frying pan and place it on a low heat. Season the duck breasts and place skin side down in the pan, cook like this for about 15 minutes, you want to cook slowly to release and render the fat down. Makesure you keep it on a moderate level and drain it off as you go along.  When the fat is golden and crispy, flip over the breast and turn up the heat, seal off for 2 minutes and then take off the heat, place the breasts on top of the potatoes for the last 4 minutes of cooking to finish off.

Keep the frying pan where you cooked the duck and drain off the excess fat, whilst its still hot, add the olives, thyme and the sherry, de-glaze the pan and reduce the juices. Then set aside until the potatoes and duck are done. I also like to serve some lightly cooked peas with this dish.

Anyway, when you are ready to serve, simply slice the duck breasts and serve with some potatoes and the olive sherry sauce spooned over the top.