Shichimi Duck Breast with Soba Noodles

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This is one of the simplest meals I’ve cooked for a long time: just a handful of quality ingredients, a cheat’s spice blend and a bit of marinating. But it was very effective: warm, spicy, slurpy and satisfying.

Shichimi is a Japanese spice blend of chilli pepper, black pepper, dried orange peel, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nori seaweed, hemp seeds.

If you can’t be faffed making your own, do what I did and buy a decent supermarket blend, like Bart’s.

Serves 2

2 large boneless duck breasts, skin on

2 tsp shichimi

½ tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

1 tbsp oil

200g soba noodles (you can also use ramen)

1 litre chicken stock

2 handfuls chopped pak choi

3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

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1. With a very sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts, about 1cm apart.

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2. Sprinkle the shichimi, salt and sugar evenly onto a plate, then press the duck breasts, skin-side down, onto the spices. Put another plate on top of the breasts, then put a couple of tins, of beans or whatever canned food you have, on top to weigh it down. Put in the fridge to marinate overnight.

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3. The next day, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Carefully remove the duck breasts from the plate and gently lower into the pan. Cook over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the skin is crisp and the duck is cooked to your liking (I like mine very pink), but bear in mind they will continue to cook once combined with the hot stock. Remove the duck from the heat and transfer to a plate to rest for a few minutes.

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4. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil and add the pak choi. Cook for around 3 minutes.

5. At the same time, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles for around 3 minutes.

6. With a very sharp knife, finely slice the duck breasts.

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7. Ladle the stock and pak choi into serving bowls. Add the sliced duck and scatter with sliced spring onions.

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