This recipe from MasterChef finalist Jack Lucas takes dinner party cooking to a new level.  Each element can be prepared in advance and brought together to impress guests with restaurant style food cooked at home.

Take your time with this beautiful dish, it’s worth it. Enjoy other recipes from Jack on our Modern British cookery course. This is an elegant dish, suitable for a dinner party or a celebration meal.


Duck Breast

Duck breast with a five-spice honey glaze, roasted butternut squash puree, chargrilled baby leek and olive crumb

Serves 4
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4 people


  • 4 small duck breasts
  • 1 ½ tbsp honey
  • ½   tbsp five spice powder
  • ½ butternut squash
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 ml chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • 2 baby leeks
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 tbsp black olives


  1. Remove the olives from the jar and remove all water. Pat dry with kitchen paper then place into an oven at 65 degrees to dry for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash by using a sharp serrated knife. Cut in half, removing the seeds and dicing into 2cm cubes. Place into a large roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well. Roast for 40 minutes, until cooked and starting to caramelize. Transfer to a blender, adding the butter and a little stock and blend to a silky smooth puree.

To Cook the Duck

  1. For the duck, score the skin lightly (do not go down to the flesh) in a criss-cross and season with salt and pepper. Place the duck into a cold frying pan and turn the hob on to a low-medium heat. Leave for 5 minutes until the fat starts to render and liquid leaches out in to the pan.
  2. Turn the heat to high and leave the duck, skin side down to caramelize and crisp up. Flip over, sear for 30 seconds then turn back on to the skin side and transfer to an oven at 180 degrees C for up to 8 minutes. Timing depends on the size of breast, but it should be springy to touch when you remove from the oven – check after 3 minutes and every minute thereafter until desired level of cooking is achieved.
  3. Mix together the honey and five spice and brush on to the resting duck.
  4. For the leek, place a griddle pan on to high and add in the leeks. Aim for dark lines on each side and remove from the pan (note: at this point the leek won’t be cooked through). Place a frying pan on to a medium heat and add in the leeks with the butter, and salt and pepper. Heat through until the leek is cooked (about 4 minutes).
  5. Remove the olives from the oven and blitz to a crumb in a small food processor.

To Serve

  1. To serve, trim the ends of the duck and form in to the shape of a rectangle. Slice the duck lengthways, into two long pieces and place one on the plate. Add a spoon of butternut puree, the chargrilled leek and some olive crumb.

Top Tips 

  • Take your time and prepare in advance.  Elements for example the butternut squash puree & the olive crumb can be made a few days in advance
  • Invest in some plastic ‘take away’ containers, these stack easily in the fridge and freezer, so make preparing ahead super easy
  • Wild or farmed duck.  This dish can be done with either type of duck, wild duck is leaner and smaller so adjust the cooking time as necessary.
  • Resting – after pan frying the duck breasts allow 5-10mins in a warm place to rest before carving
  • Alternatives to duck: this dish would also be delicious with lamb neck fillet or a rump of lamb



Jack Lucas 

Jack was one of the youngest MasterChef finalists in 2014 when Judges Greg Wallace & John Torode were impressed by his presentation, palate & cookery skills and his approach to Modern British Cookery.  Now working for Sainsbury’s in their buying division Jack also runs his own private dining events and corporate cookery events.

Based in London, Jack’s family are based in Birmingham and Jack travels up to Seasoned to teach several times a year.  Join us to hone your diner party skills, learn how to create stunning restaurant quality food at home.

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