Lightly score the skin of the duck
breasts, then season well. Place a
non-stick pan over a medium heat,
then lay the duck in the pan, skin-side down.
Cook until the fat starts to come from the
duck, then add the garlic and thyme. Turn
down the heat, then continue to cook for
15-20 mins, depending on the size of the
duck breast, until the skin is really crisp and
brown. As it cooks, pour
the fat into a large pan for the cabbage.
Flip the duck over, cook on the flesh
side for 3 mins until browned, then
turn off the heat (this will result in meat that is pink in the middle - cook for a few minutes longer if you like it well done). Leave the duck in
the pan to rest.
While the duck cooks, heat 1 tbsp of its
fat in the other pan. Add the celeriac
and bacon, then gently fry for 5 mins
until the celeriac has browned and the bacon
starts to crisp. Add the thyme, then the
cabbage. Fry the cabbage for 5 mins until it
starts to wilt. Add 100ml water and simmer
for 5 mins until the water has evaporated
and the celeriac is soft. Pour in the cream,
stir to coat, then add the chestnuts and heat
through. This can be done up to a day ahead - cook the celeriac in 1 tbsp vegetable oil instead of the duck fat and reheat with an extra splash of cream before serving.
Cut the pear in half and use a melon
baller or teaspoon to scoop out the
core. Place a star anise in the cavity
of each half.
Place 3 tbsp of the icing sugar in a
non-stick pan and heat to make
a light amber caramel. Pour in the
vinegar and bubble to make a sticky syrup.
Dust the pear halves heavily with the rest
of the icing sugar, then place the pan back
on the heat. Cook the pear for 10 mins until
brown and caramelised all over. This can be done up to a day ahead and reheated, adding a splash of water.
To serve, slice each duck breast lengthways and
dress the watercress in the olive oil
and vinegar. Spoon a neat mound of cabbage
on one side of each plate. Place a pear half, cut-side up, on
the opposite side of the plate and
drizzle the sticky sauce around it. Place the outside slices of duck
breast on the cabbage and fan the
rest of the duck over. Scatter the dressed watercress
sprigs around the sides of the plates