Stage 13, Pau – Lourdes: For the first time ever, Gabriel visits the market of Pau, one of the best in the south-west Pyrenees region. He finds some wonderful local smallgoods, including blood sausages. In the kitchen, he prepares a simple, delicious dish of duck breast with turnips known as canard aux navets.


Skill level

Average: 3.8 (7 votes)


2 turnips
½ cup water
20 g butter
2 duck breast, fillets
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
10 ml cognac
30 ml veal glaze
30 ml water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Peel the turnips and cut each into 6 segments. Using a paring knife, trim the turnips into large olive shapes, the size of dates.  

Place the turnips in a saucepan. Add ½ cup water and half the butter and cook on medium heat until the turnips are soft and the water has evaporated. By that time, the turnips will be glazed by the butter.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy frypan.

Season the skin of the duck fillets with fennel seeds and a little salt and pepper. Place the duck, skin-side down, in the hot pan and cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes. Turn the duck over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer the duck fillets to warm plates and cover with foil.

Discard the duck fat from the pan. Stir the shallots into the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cognac and flame it before adding the veal glaze and 30 ml water. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in the remaining butter.  

Reheat the turnips in the sauce.  

Cut each duck fillet into 3 pieces and serve on warm plates with the turnips and sauce.