Crispy skin duck with wilted spinach, port reduction and wild mushroom spelt ravioli.

I have had a hankering for crispy skin duck for the last couple of weeks. I must have seen it in a cookbook or on a cooking show and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. I seem to have a knack for craving foods, of all different types, and by rule of thumb, my cooking seems to be mysteriously better when I cook the very thing I am craving….strange ay!? This is a little (or slightly more complicated them I originally intended) recipe that Owen and I came up with tonight. With a little help from google, and a few old tricks we have come up with what we think is a ripper of a dish. I must warn you that it is very rich in flavour and you’d have to be rich to afford it every night. BUT for a very special occasion, a romantic night in or just a very special meal midweek….this is a delicious dinner to serve with your best smile. And let me tell you…the amalgamation of flavours, the earthiness of the mushrooms and spinach and that crisp, succulent duck…its enough to keep me drooling until next time.


Crispy skin duck with wilted spinach, port reduction and wild mushroom spelt ravioli.




2 duck breasts

salt and pepper


Wilted spinach

8-10 large spinach leaves

1 tablespoon butter

Splash of olive oil

salt and pepper


Port reduction

¾ cup porcini broth (leftover)

2 tablespoons port

½ cube beef stock

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon butter


Ravioli mushroom mix

200g mixed mushrooms, chopped coarsely (swiss brown, button etc)

¼ cup dried porchini mushrooms (rehydrated in 1 cup warm water for 20min [liquid referred to as porcini broth in the recipe]), then chopped coarsely

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

3 shallots, chopped finely

½  tablespoon butter

Handful of rocket

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼  cup porcini broth (leftover)

Salt and pepper


Extra butter

Extra thyme leaves


Spelt pasta

145g white spelt flour

2 eggs

Pinch of salt



1. Ravioli: Place flour on working surface, making a well in the middle. Crack 2 eggs and add the salt into the well and begin to mix in the flour with a fork, slowly gathering the flour from the sides of the well and being careful not to break the walls of flour. Mix until the dough begins to come together then work the dough by hand, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball and wrap in gladwrap. Let rest at least one hour in the fridge.

2. Make ravioli mushroom mixture: Heat a saucepan on medium-high, add a spash of olive oil and the mushrooms and cook until they are golden. Reduce the heat and the garlic, thyme and shallots and cook for a further 5min or so. Add the red wine vinegar, porcini broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the rocket leaves and butter and cook until wilted. Allow to cool fully before using in the ravioli.

3. Port reduction: Place porcini broth, port, whole garlic clove and beef stock cube in a medium heat pan. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20min until reduced. Add butter at the end.

4. Ravioli: After resting the dough, cut the ball into 2 pieces, flattening each by hand slightly. Using a pasta machine, manual or electric powered, roll the pasta into sheets to your desired thickness. To do this, set the rollers of the pasta machine to the widest setting to start and feed the dough through with one hand while guiding it out with the other. Once it is through, flour the dough lightly, fold it in thirds and feed it through the roller again. Continue to feed the dough through the rollers, setting the rollers closer together on each pass until you reach your desired thickness.

Make 2 rectangular dough sheets about 12 inches long by 6 inches wide. Place scoops of filling on top of the first dough sheet at intervals about 2 inches apart. Top with the second sheet of dough, covering the filling gently, using your fingers and palm, create a circle around the mixture and push out any air. Then cut the ravioli out by cutting ‘pillow’ circles with the rim of a glass.

5. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt

6. Duck: Season duck breasts with salt and pepper and place skin side down into a hot pan. Cook for 6-8min to render the fat, then turn over and cook for another 5min. Duck is best eaten medium rare…still pink in the middle. Rest in foil for 5min before serving to allow the meat to rest.

7. Wilted spinach: Meanwhile melt butter and olive oil in a saucepan on a low heat, add spinach, salt and pepper and using tongs, move around until wilted. Set aside in foil until serving.

8. Ravioli: Cook the ravioli in a large quantity of rapidly boiling salted water. Drop them gently into the water and watch carefully, as fresh pasta cooks quickly. When the ravioli is cooked, it will rise to the surface (This takes about 2-3min, but will depend on the thickness of the pasta). Remove using a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Heat the pan that had the wilted spinach in it and add a tablespoon of butter, some fresh thyme leaves and any left over mushroom mixture. Place cooked ravioli gently in the pan and heat through for a min or so.

9. Plate up: Divide the wilted spinach between 4 plates, slice the duck on an angle and place half a breast on top of the spinach. Spoon some port reduction over the duck. Place the ravioli over lapping slightly on the plate, spoon over remaining butter and mushroom sauce and top with fresh thyme springs.






Tip: Use any left over pasta as lasagne sheets or use pasta machine to cut into spaghetti or fettuccini. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze for later on.


Mr McDonald’s remarks: “This is bloomin’ delicious! This is the sort of thing that you’d get at a restaurant and actually be happy to pay for”.

Ps. I’m secretly over the moon when Mr McDonald makes this sort of remark 🙂

Pps. Some of these pictures aren’t mine as I was too busy cooking and forgot to take photos along the way. I hope you’ll excuse it….just this once…


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