Look Out – Duck !!

The Good & Bad Of Cooking Wild Duck !!

Wild duck is the best . We have cooked it many times. You do have to be careful about it drying out because there is very little fat on the bird. I usually stuffed the bird with onions , celery , a little garlic and carrots to roast it and wrap it in bacon or side pork ( side pork is the same cut of meat that bacon comes from but is not cured ) .

I have cooked it many ways , the recipe in this article is one that I have not tried yet but have every intention of doing so.  The red cabbage to go with the duck is what I am most curious about. Sounds yummy..

Great information and recipe…

Meat from wild duck is outstanding

Mallard is the most common and, indeed, the largest of wild ducks.

The first step to cooking mallard is finding top-quality game bang in season and as fresh as can be. As is the case with all meat, duck should be bought from a source you trust – a good butcher, farmers’ market or shop.

Generally, wild duck has less fat than a lot of other meats so you need to take greater care when cooking. However, oven roasting the duck, you will find a fair amount of fat will collect under the bird so you tend not to really need to add any fat when you’re cooking. It can be all too easy to overcook, and they can dry quite quickly, so make sure you keep checking, especially if you’re trying it for the first time.

 Mallard is best if you roast it whole, as you really do get varying flavours from all of the different parts of the bird. Sometimes they will require different cooking techniques for the best results, but don’t be afraid to try cooking and eating it all. The breast is wonderful roasted, grilled or sautéed, while legs are delicious if you braise or confit them, and are also a great addition to stews and casseroles.

Meat from wild duck is outstanding – it’s deeply rich and full of flavour but you need something quite sharp or fruity as a natural match to really cut through that richness. I like to serve mallard with some vibrant red cabbage and watercress, but it works just as well with celeriac, turnip and beetroot which are all at their seasonal best at the moment.

Duck is also often paired with sharp, fruity flavours like apples, blueberries and raspberries, which can all be found around the bird’s natural habitat.

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Roast mallard with red cabbage salad

Serves two

1 large mallard, cleaned (ask your butcher)

vegetable oil

For the red cabbage salad

¼ red cabbage

½ tsp Maldon salt

150ml red wine

100ml malt vinegar

100ml white wine vinegar

100ml balsamic vinegar

½ tsp caster sugar

2 star anise

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

½ tsp black peppercorns

½ tsp pink peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp chilli flakes

¼ orange skin

1 apple, cored and cut into very thin matchsticks

To roast the mallard

Preheat the oven to 240C/gas mark 9. Pat the duck dry with kitchen towel and remove the wishbone, which makes it easier to carve once cooked. To do this, cut down either side of the bone with a sharp knife so you can get your fingers in, then pull and the bone will come away.

Season with salt and pepper and don’t forget to season inside the cavity.

Heat some oil in an ovenproof pan and brown the duck on both sides for two to three minutes. Place the duck in the oven and cook for 14 to 16 minutes, depending on its size. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, then serve with your red cabbage.

To make the red cabbage

Cut the cabbage in half, remove the core and the outer leaves, then shred finely. Place in a colander, mix with the Maldon salt and leave for three hours, mixing regularly, then rinse, spin with a salad spinner and pat dry on a cloth.

Bring all the liquid and sugar to the boil, and reduce by half.

Blitz all of the spices and orange peel in a blender, then wrap in a muslin cloth.

When infused, pour the hot marinade over the cabbage and leave to cool.

Drain the cooking liquor and set aside. Then add a little olive oil to the cabbage before serving with the apple matchsticks as a garnish. You can use the cooking liquor as a lovely sauce for your mallard.

Article by : Tom Kitchin

Photo by : Greg Macvean

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