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Introduction

This is a real seasonal treat, with our Mallard caught wild in the Yorkshire Dales. The meat is heavily informed by the bird’s grazing, but as a rule you can expect lean, deeply flavoursome duck. A good sized bird typically weighs around 500g to 600g and can feed two adults, although I like to be a bit indulgent and have one bird per person, served with delicious red cabbage. Spare cabbage can be frozen and used for future side dishes.

Method

Cooking the Cabbage

  1. Place all in a heavy bottomed pan except half the butter, next cover with a lid and cook for about 40 minutes or until tender.
  2. Remove the lid and reduce the liquid for 15 minutes or so until glossy and rich, then fold in the cold, diced butter.

Cooking the Duck

  1. Pre heat the oven to 220°C, and remove the duck from the chiller half an hour before cooking.
  2. Prick the skin all over then season liberally including the cavity with sea salt.
  3. Next pop a selection of spices inside the cavity. I'd recommend one piece of star anise, a few peppercorns, a knob of ginger, and force it all in with a wedge of orange.
  4. Once this is done, score the bird with boiling water over a sink sat on a wire tray.
  5. Place the bird breast side up on an oven proof try and roast for 10 minutes on full heat.
  6. Reduce the heat to 175°C and roast for another 25 to 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, rest in a warm place and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve the birds whole so those eating can enjoy the full flavours of the bird roasted on the bone.