British chef, Colin Bedford has been Executive Chef at Fearrington House, North Carolina for four years and has adopted a distinctive style, combining the culinary traditions of the American South, local ingredients, his own English roots and his technical aptitude and taste.

Having been brought up in a world where home-grown food was rife, Chef Bedford is adept at home-made goods, scouting local produce and foraging for ingredients in Fearrington’s grounds. His passion for creating edible art has earned him many accolade, of which the title of Grand Chef is included.

This recipe combines traditional ingredients to create an exquisite festive duck dish with smoked onion puree and marinated cherries jasmine, pistachio, foie gras, orange. Whether you want it as a cold first course or a hot main, it is perfect for those of us who are after something a bit different this Christmas.


Serves 8



Duck Breast

2 large duck breasts

2 tbsp jasmine tea

meat glue

3 cups water

85g salt

85g sugar

2 pieces star anise

1 orange, zest peeled

4 thyme sprigs

Smoked Onion Purée

8 onions


¼ cup sherry

225g butter

1 tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp sherry vinegar

Cherry Gel

½ cup Maderia

½ cup simple syrup

2 cups sour cherries

½ tsp salt


Foie Gras Custard

795g foie gras

1 tbsp maderia

1 orange, zested

2 tsp foie gras cure

595g milk

710g half & half

170g reduced maderia

55g sugar

2 tsp salt

45g calcium lactate

28g iota

1 tbsp sherry vinegar


Pistachio Financier

354g powdered sugar

137g cake flour

⅔ tsp baking powder

128g pistachio flour

170g brown butter

1¼ tsp trimoline

½ tsp vanilla extract

340g egg whites

Zest of 2 oranges


Candied Pistachio

4 cup sugar

¼ cup water

2 tsp salt

1 cup pistachios, peeled


Marinated Cherries

227g cherries, pitted and halved

½ cup red wine

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup sugar

4 tbsp Grand Marnier

4 thyme sprigs


Confit Orange Segment

2 oranges, segmented

½ cup sugar

½ cup water      



170g chanterelle mushrooms, trimmed

1 tbsp butter

3 thyme sprigs

salt and pepper


To Serve



Duck Breast

Remove the skin from the duck breast and set aside. Reserve the meat glue and jasmine tea. Combine all the other ingredients and bring to a boil, then add the tea and allow to cool. Once cold, strain and pour over the duck breasts and brine for 3 hours. Butterfly the duck breast and liberally sprinkle with meat glue on the cut side and then roll. Wrap in plastic and tie both ends making a cylinder. Allow to chill for at least 6 hours to help the meat glue bind. Then cook in a water bath at 57.5C (135.5F) for 45 minutes.

Smoked Onion Purée

Shave the onions as thin as possible. Pre-heat a pan on a medium heat, then add the onions and a pinch of salt until they begin to soften. Add the sherry and continue cooking. Add the butter and cook on a low heat for 1 hour until soft. Pour the onions into a pan and smoke for 45 minutes. Strain the onions and blend. Add the xanthan gum and adjust the seasoning. Continue blending, adding melted butter to get the required consistency. Then adjust the seasoning and add vinegar to taste.

Cherry Gel

Bring the Madeira and simple syrup to a boil. Add the cherries and simmer for 10 minutes until soft, then purée and season with salt.

Foie Gras Custard

Combine the foie gras, Madeira, orange zest and foie cure together and vac-pac. Then circulate in an immersion circulator for 10 minutes at 149F. Line the inside of cannoli molds with acetate. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the foie gras is ready and the milk mixture is hot, put the foie gras mixture in a blender and slowly add the milk mixture in a steady stream until smooth, strain and pour into the molds and allow to set.

Pistachio Financier

Preheat the oven to 350F. Sieve the powdered sugar, flour and baking powder then combine with the pistachio flour. Warm the brown butter and add the trimoline, then combine the rest of the wet ingredients. To finish, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly. Then bake for 15-18 minutes in a greased mould.

Candied Pistachios

Combine half the sugar with the water in a saucepan, making sure there is no sugar on the sides of the pan, then boil on a high heat. Have a tray with a baking screen inside and put the remaining sugar in a bowl with the salt. Take the sugar to a blonde caramel stage and add the pistachios. Continue to cook until the nuts begin to release from each other. Pour on to the screen allowing the sugar to drain just leaving the sugar coated nuts. Then, wearing plastic gloves, scrape the hot nuts into the sugar mixture and coat evenly. Once cooled, remove from the sugar and place in an air tight container.

Marinated Cherries

Place the halved cherries in a bowl. Combine all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Allow to cool where it is still hot to the touch, and pour over the cherries.

Confit Orange Segment

Combine water and sugar then bring to a boil. After boiling allow to cool slightly then pour over segments and chill.


Sauté the mushrooms with the butter on medium to high heat with the thyme and season until cooked. 

To Serve

Take a spoonful of onion purée and drop at the front of the plate then with a small offset palate knife, scrape across the plate away from you. Take your two pieces of cut duck about ¼ inch thick. Place one up and one down and take the ripped financier and position around the duck.  Take the cut foie gras custard and add to the plate. Then arrange the remaining ingredients of marinated cherries, candied pistachio, sour cherry gel, confit orange and micro greens on the plate.

Chef’s Tip

When rolling the duck, keep as tight as possible so no holes form on the inside of the duck.