When deciding which meat to serve at Christmas, it’s very easy to opt for the traditional turkey, succulent pork and for some, the British favourite; chicken. Testing out my cooking skills at the newly opened Good House Keeping Institute Cookery School, I was introduced to a new kind of cuisine – Scandinavian.

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As part of one of their cookery programmes, which are now open to the public to try their hand at making a variety of dishes in their sparkling new kitchens, we learnt to master the art of how to cook duck. Often associated with Christmas, duck can be an excellent addition to your Christmas feast, but there is often confusion over the best and most simple way to approach this soft meat.


Developed from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s famous Triple-Tested recipes, you can rest assured this delicious Duck with Port and Figs will go down a storm. And because we know how stressful Christmas Day cooking can be, we’ve included a step by step photo guide, so we’re with you every step of the way.


Duck Breast with Port & Figs

Serves 6

4 x 200g (7oz) duck breasts
1tsp rapeseed oil
150ml (1/4 pint) port
300ml (1/2 pint) hot chicken stock
Zest of 1 orange, plus 1-2 tbsp orange juice
9 fresh figs, halved



1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (180 fan). Using a small, sharp knife, diagonally score the fat of each duck breast, making sure you don’t cut the meat. Trim away any sinew and excess fat.


2. Put the duck, skin side down, with the oil into a large frying pan set over the lowest heat to let the fat run out. This will take 15-20mins and can be done up to 24hrs in advance (pour the fat into the bowl and use to cook the roast potatoes later). When the skin has turned golden and most of the fat has drained out, put the duck breasts on a rack set in a roasting tin, skin side-up.


3. Cook the duck in the oven for 15 mins for pink and 20 mins for well done. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest while you make the sauce.

4. Put the port, hot stock and orange zest into the frying pan and bubble rapidly until syrupy and reduced by two-thirds. Stir in the orange zest to taste along with any of the juices from the resting duck. Season to taste and keep warm.


5. Meanwhile heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and griddle the figs cut-side down for 3 mins until softened. Slice the duck breasts diagonally and arrange on warmed plates with figs. Drizzle over the sauce.


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Daily courses of up to eight people run in the morning and afternoon and start at £90 for a short 3 hour class or £180 for a long 5 hour class. GHI gift vouchers are also available and bespoke private sessions can be arranged on request. To book simply visit www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/cookery-school.