As he takes over the reins from Noel McMeel, Stephen Holland praises the versatility of Thornhill Duck and explains why it’s his favourite meat to cook

I love to use Thornhill Duck, produced by the Moffit Family in Blacklion, Co Cavan where quality is always at the forefront. Its rich but unobtrusive flavour lends itself to so many earthy, punchy, big flavours. That’s why it’s my favourite meat to cook. This is a wonderful dish that captures the best of winter’s warming, earthy flavours.

Thornhill Duck Breast – Glazed Beetroot – Pear Jelly – Pickle Carrot 

Roasted Macadamia Nut  and Thyme Jus


  • 2 Thornhill Duck Breast
  • 10g thyme
  • 5g garlic
  • 5g Mussenden Sea Salt

Glazed Beetroot

  • 1 whole beetroot
  • 15g salt
  • 5g garlic
  • 10g butter

Pear Jelly

  • 500ml pear juice
  • 5g Agar-Agar
  • 15ml Burren Balsamic

Roasted Macadamia Nut 

  • 50g macadamia nuts
  • 5g salted butter
  • 2g Mussenden Sea Salt

Pickle Carrot

  • 100g carrots
  • 2g coriander seed
  • 2g fennel seed
  • 2g ground cumin
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2g whole black peppercorns
  • 50ml Burren Balsamic

Thyme Jus

  • 100ml veal stock
  • 50g shallots
  • 50g celery
  • 50ml port
  • 10g redcurrant jelly
  • 10g thyme
  • 5g garlic


Duck Preparation & Cooking

Remove excess skin and sinew from duck breast. Score the skin of the duck and make sure you do not score too deep into the skin, only scoring the fat. Marinate the duck breast in thyme, garlic and sea salt for one hour.

Cooking the Duck

In a cold pan, slowly render the duck skin, removing any excess fat during this process. The duck skin should be crispy with a golden-brown appearance. Cook the duck breast in the over at 170 degrees for 6 minutes, before removing it from the oven and resting it for 10 minutes. Trim the breast in each side and cut through the middle to reveal a nicely rested pink duck breast.

Glazed Beetroot

Simply cook the whole beetroot in the oven wrapped in tin foil with 15g of salt and 5g of garlic until tender. Once cooked, allow to cool. Then with your knife, remove the root end. Use an apple core to make cylinder shaped cuts. Cut into 2cm lengths and set aside for plating.

Pear Jelly

Using 500ml of the pear stock, gently bring to the boil and add the Burren Balsamic. Please adjust your flavour according to preference. Using 5g of agar-agar, add to saucepan and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat and add to a 500ml container. Allow to set in the fridge and once set, remove from the container. Cut into 1.5cm by 1.5cm cubes equal cubes and set aside for plating.

Macadamia Nut

Roasting macadamia nuts are easy! Just heat up a frying pan (but not smoking as the nuts will burn). Add the nuts and toast, add 5g of butter and 2g of salt to finish. This gives the nuts a better finish and salt to enhance the buttery nut flavour.

Pickle Carrot

Using a grater, grate the carrot into a bowl, then heat the balsamic and add. Using a bouquet garni method, toast off your spices and chilli in a pan, add to a small cheese cloth and tie and add this to the carrot and balsamic. Mix and let infuse for 30 minutes. When cooled, you can add all to a jar or remove the spices. I remove the spices as I want it to be perfumed with the flavour.

Thyme Jus

In a saucepan combine sauté of shallots, celery, 5g of thyme and garlic until they are caramelised. Deglaze the pan with the port and reduce by half. Add the veal stock and reduce again by half until the stock coats a spoon. Add the remaining thyme and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Adding the remaining thyme at the end helps infuse the sauce better.

Plating & Presenting

Neatly arrange the pear jelly and glazed beetroot in a semi-circle position on the plate. Quenelle the carrot pickle and place top left of semi-circle, add the macadamia nut to finish the circle and garnish with some micro coriander. Place the duck breast alongside the semi-circle and add the thyme jus to the centre. Enjoy a wonderful dish!

Stephen Holland is Executive Head Chef at Lough Erne Resort