• Roast duck with pommes dauphines (The Chefs' Line)

Key to this French classic is perfectly cooked duck breast (or leg) with crispy skin. 


Skill level

Average: 3.9 (12 votes)

At Montrachet, we serve the duck with carrots three-ways (glazed, a purée and as chips). Here I’ve simplified the recipe to only glazed carrots, known as Vichy carrots. The pommes dauphines are a French classic, which you don't see often anymore. It's essentially potato purée lightened with choux pastry, then deep-fried - they're like eating pillows.


Duck breast

  • 6 large duck breast fillets
  • 100 ml water
  • 1.5 g yellow mustard seeds
  • 7 cloves
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 3.5 g black peppercorns
  • 1.5 g coriander seeds
  • 100 g salt flakes
  • 1.5 g powdered ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 litre (4 cups) cold water
  • 200 g duck fat


Pommes dauphines

  • 800 g Dutch cream potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 125 ml (½ cup) water
  • 65 g butter
  • 125 g plain flour, sifted
  • 4 eggs, extra
  • 6 g salt
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying


Vichy carrots

  • 12 small dutch carrots
  • 80 g butter, diced
  • 1 eschalot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 250 ml (1 cup) freshly pressed carrot juice
  • 200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ¼ bunch thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper


Duck jus

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 150 ml pinot noir
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 500 ml (2 cups) duck stock

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.


For the duck, trim the breasts of any excess fat, and score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern with a very sharp knife.

Toast the mustard seeds, cloves, juniper berries, peppercorns and coriander seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until aromatic (but not burnt).

Combine the toasted spices, salt, powdered ginger, garlic, bay leaf and water in container large enough to submerge the duck breasts. Stir to dissolve the salt, add the duck to the brine and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Drain the duck and pat dry with paper towel. Place on a paper towel lined tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 15 minutes to dry out.

Wrap each duck breast tightly in plastic wrap and secure the ends so that it is watertight. Place in a waterbath heated to 80C and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the duck and unwrap.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and gently cook so that the fat renders and the skin crisps up. Season with salt and pepper and carve.

To begin the pommes dauphines, place the potatoes in a pan of salted cold water, bring to the boil and cook the potatoes until just tender. Drain well, then pass through a sieve, mill, ricer or mouli.

Combine the potato with 1 egg and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. This mixture is called pommes duchess (which is then combined with choux pastry to make pommes dauphines).

To make a choux pastry, heat the milk, water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted, and bring to a simmer.

Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, vigorously beating until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan. Allow to cool slightly, then fold in the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir through the salt.

For the pommes dauphines, combine equal amounts of the choux pastry with the pomme duchess in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until just combined.

Heat the oil in a large deep-sided saucepan to 170C. Spoon walnut-sized pieces of mixture into the hot oil, in batches, and cook until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, season with salt and serve immediately.

For the vichy carrots, scrub the carrots with a soft scourer – there is no need to peel them. Halve any large carrots.

In a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, melt half of the butter, add the eschalot and garlic and cook until softened.

Add the carrots, cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute.

Add the vinegar and reduce by one-third, then add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and cook until the carrots are just tender. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Continue cooking the liquid in the pan until it begins to thicken. Add the carrots back to the pan, along with the remaining butter and toss so that the glaze coats all of the carrots. Check the acidity and seasoning.

For the duck jus, heat the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until melted and cook until a nice caramel colour – do not stir. Add the vinegar and wine and cook until reduce by half. Add the herbs and stock and cook until reduced to your desired consistency. Check the seasoning and strain.

To serve, spread the duck jus over serving plates, arrange a duck breast on each plate and divide the carrots and pommes dauphines among the plates. 


Shannon Kellam is the head chef at Montrachet. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.