Tag Archives: Duck

Logical Progression

Duck Salad

Salad as Leftovers

Having eaten fairly rich meals all week, today I was craving something a bit lighter.  I also had a little rocket, parsley and the cut and come again lettuce I planted earlier, so today’s post is both leftover loveliness, and my entry for the salad challenge.

Lately, I have been reading about using miso as a marinade for meats. Obviously, it was a little late to marinate my duck, but I was convinced that it would make a good dressing for a salad. I had the duck, and leaves, and decided that using bulgur wheat would add the bulk, and a lovely nuttiness and some bite to the dish. I would have liked to add some thinly sliced spring onion, but as they are out of season, I satisfied myself with the leaves and the dressing.

The resulting dish was substantial enough to satisfy, but light enough that we weren’t eating more rich food, which really hit the spot for me. Even though we had eaten the duck all week, I had made it different enough not to bore, and it was sad to actually come to the end of this versatile ingredient.

I do have one more dish to post on the topic, but I am travelling in the UK, and managed to leave the pictures on the hard drive at home. As it will be a step by step guide, I think the pictures will be necessary, but I hope that you have enjoyed Duck Week, in any case.

Recipe: Duck Salad


100 g bulgur wheat

Hot vegetable or chicken Stock – to cover the bulgur by 2-3 cm

60 ml miso paste (I used the darker variety)

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

4 tbsp sesame oil

2 cm piece of ginger, grated

Little water to thin

Remaining meat from a roast duck carcase

Small bunch parsley, leaves removed from the stalks.

100 g rocket

100 g cut and come again lettuce, or a mixed bag of salad

5cm chunk of cucumber, cut into matchsticks


Pour the hot stock over the bulgur wheat, cover, and set aside for the bulgur to absorb the stock. I like it al dente, so I make sure that I test it after about 15 minutes. If the grains are as you like them before all of the liquid is absorbed, then drain them, and leave aside.

Meanwhile,  mix the miso, soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger together to make a dressing. Taste, and adjust the soy or thin with a little water, as required.

When the bulgur is done to your liking, add the miso dressing, and set aside for 5 minutes to let the bulgur absorb the flavours of the dressing.

Mix in the duck, parsley, cucumber and salad leaves, and serve immediately.



Filed under Farmed

Progressions on a Theme

Duck & Mushroom Risotto

Woodland Flavours

Today I stripped the carcass, separating the meat from the bones and the skin. Of course, these will become stock, but I have something specific planned for this, of which more later. I also found an escapee clove of garlic, nestled in the back of the cavity. Roasted garlic is so good, there was no way that I was going to let that go, and it will only add to the flavour of today’s dish.

So, to a risotto, but this time I wanted to develop the flavour with earthy base notes of woodland and wild mushrooms, building the flavour layers as I went, instead of making a simple white risotto, and adding the flavour at the end.

You can dry your own mushrooms or buy them. If you were going to buy them, I would suggest porcini mushrooms. I was lucky, the Big Guy’s sister had been out in the woods and taken the trouble of gathering and drying the most amazing chanterelles and trompettes des mort. I got a jar full as a present, and I love them. I love that someone has taken the care to go and forage for them and preserve them, and I really love that she also knew that I would love some of them.

Dried mushrooms, particularly of the chanterelle variety, have a really deep, almost woody quality,and I knew that they would be perfect with this duck, and would help layer the flavours, as I could soak them, then add the soaking liquor to the stock.

Then I started thinking about red wine, but decided that a better match would be sherry. I only had the Pedro Ximénez that we bought for the sherry trifle, so I knew I couldn’t use a lot of it, for fear of making it too sweet. But it all builds up.

This has all the earthy richness that I wanted, given that the weather has taken a turn for the colder, despite it being spring.

Recipe: Duck and Mushroom Risotto


10 g dried mushrooms

400 ml boiling water

A little oil for frying

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Bay leaf

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 roasted garlic clove, mashed

4-5 sprigs thyme

200 g arborio rice

Splash Pedro Ximénez

500 ml chicken stock

150 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

200 g cooked duck meat

2 knobs butter (to be used separately)

75 g Parmesan cheese, grated

Small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water, and set aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

Sweat the onion in a little oil, until translucent. Add both types of garlic and the thyme and bay, and allow them to sweat together.

Meanwhile, drain, and squeeze out the dried mushrooms, but do not discard the water that they were soaking in. Roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms, and add them to the sweating vegetables.

Carefully pour the liquid that the mushrooms had been soaking in to the chicken stock, and warm them both on the hob. No matter how carefully the mushrooms were cleaned before drying, there will probably still be a bit of grit or debris in them. When you add the mushroom stock to the chicken stock, don’t pour the grit in. It is easy to see, and is heavier than the stock, so it is easily to avoid if you pour the stock in carefully, and maybe leave the last few ml, which will have the most grit in it.

Add the rice, then follow the method for the basic risotto. You will be developing some big, earthy mushroom flavours, by adding the rehydrating mushrooms, and using the mushroom stock. However, the duck can take it.

So, while the risotto is cooking down, fry the sliced chestnut mushrooms over a low heat with a little more thyme, and a little salt.

When you feel that the rice is nearly ready, add the duck meat, and the now cooked mushrooms with the last half ladle of the stock that you need. This will heat the meat without it going tough, and will help to bring the flavour of the chestnut mushrooms into the dish.

Once the last lot of stock has been absorbed, add a knob of butter and the parmesan, then season with a little salt and a lot of pepper. Finally, stir through the parsley, and serve with a peppery salad.

Not only is this risotto a great way to use up leftovers, but it is really earthy, with the mushrooms and the duck packing a real punch. Leftovers done like this really are not humble, and nor should they be.

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Gravy, Gravy, Give Me a Meal for Two

Vegetables, Gravy & Polenta

It’s All Gravy

I read an article online somewhere (but can no longer remember where) about food waste, and was shocked that loads of people in the comments were saying that they hated leftovers, and even the thought of leftovers. On further reading, these people were just reheating their old meal. This has a place for some meals, especially if you take the leftovers to work for a cheap lunch. I have done this many times, but only for certain things – some foods just taste horrible when reheated in the  microwave.

To me, the whole point of leftovers is actually what might be termed “upcycling” in other areas that use waste. I have mentioned before that I am not fond of the term “food waste”, when describing bits and bobs of perfectly edible food. Once you stop seeing leftovers as the same tired (or even stale) meal from dinners past, and start seeing leftover food as ingredients it’s like opening a gate to a whole new world of delicious dinners. This is where you can really let your creativity flow – the trick is actually to get  meal that is a reminder of that lovely supper, but is different enough to maintain interest, and keep you excited about the ingredient. After all, it is this kind of thinking that has led to a number of delectable pie fillings, moussaka, or shepherds pie, not to mention numerous soups, and stir fries!

I love gravy. I always make mine from scratch, and it is an invaluable way to stretch out leftovers. The gravy I made for the duck was actually with rabbit stock (I may also have mentioned that I like to make stock too…), which was actually more meaty than I had anticipated. I think I will use chicken stock for making gravy to go with a duck in the future.

It was still great gravy, and I have been plotting the best use of this. Because of the glaze, the gravy had already got a hint of Asian spice, so I was thinking along the lines of chinese flavours. Having eaten meat yesterday, I wanted the dish today to be mostly plant based. For some reason, I fancied pak choi as well. Then I had it – it was close enough to pak choi in oyster sauce, and so I decided  I was going to do something like this. I knew that the gravy would be great in a dish like this, and would be a lovely balance for the iron tang of the greens.

I also have a thing about polenta. I love it with any dish with a sauce to mop up. I often have it instead of mashed potatoes to accompany stews and casseroles. And it is so easy. I made up a wet polenta, which should have a similar consistency to mash, but it holds gravy better in delicious pools, cuddled by the fluffy maize. If you do not share my joy in cornmeal, this dish would also be great with rice.

Of course, making polenta means that you can fry any leftovers up the next day until a golden crust has formed. Then you can eat it with a tomato based ragu; or a few mushrooms in garlic; or some shredded duck; or some herbs and tomatoes; or…well, I think you  get the picture.

Recipe: Asian Inspired Gravy and Greens


A little oil or duck fat for frying

1 onion, sliced

1 leek, sliced

100 g mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Pinch chilli flakes

1 medium carrot, sliced

Pak choi – ½ large or 2 baby ones

2 star anise

200 ml gravy

Water to cover

150 g polenta

700 ml boiling water

75 g grated cheese (eg piquant belegen or mature cheddar)


Prepare the vegetables. Cook the onion in the oil, on a medium heat, until they are translucent. Add the leek and the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms look done to you. You don’t want the leeks to catch, so you will need to stir the veg.

I like my carrots to retain their crunch, so I don’t ike them to sweat for too long. If you are like me, add them now. If you like them softer add them with the onion at the start of cooking.

Add the garlic and chilli, and cook until the scent hits you, them pour in the gravy, star anise and any water that is necessary to cover the vegetables. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Start with 700 ml of boiling water in a deep saucepan. Shake the polenta into the water, and whisk to combine. If you do it the other way around, you will get lumpy polenta, and it won’t cook through properly. I often use stock to add flavour to the polenta, bu the gravy was rich enough to carry it in this case, so water was fine.

As you whisk the polenta will thicken, and start to sputter. You can turn the heat down a little at this point, and allow it to cook through for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally.

As the polenta is sputtering away, cut the pak choi in half or quarters lengthways. You want the stalks to remain attached to each other, so it retains it’s shape. Add it to the gravy mixture, and push it under the liquid, so that it wilts.

When the polenta is cooked, add the cheese, and a fair bit of pepper, and stir it in thoroughly.

Serve the polenta so it forms a sort of well on the plate, with the gravy and vegetables on top.

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Cor, Love a Roast Duck

Roast Duck with a Marmalade Glaze


This week, I am posting the series of posts that I failed to prepare properly before I went away on the permaculture course. I am going to document a roast duck, that fed the Big Guy and I for a week, over the course of this week. This will make me look like much more of a carnivore than I really am, because of the lamb I ate at Easter. But you can expect a number of salad and vegetable related posts to follow, I promise

As you know, I  had some marmalade left that I couldn’t sell, and have been plotting its use. As well as the flapjacks, I have been ruminating on making a meat glaze.

I have seen marmalade based glazes for ham, and chicken wings, but neither of these really hits the spot for me. Also, I didn’t want to have to strain the orangey bits from the marmalade because, having taken the trouble to hand cut them and cook them, I didn’t see the point in wasting them. So, I thought about this some more. Suddenly, I remembered duck a l’orange, that classic dish so popular in the 70s – the decade where everything was brown and orange, from the wallpaper to the food. This had to be the way forward, after all, centuries of French cooks (and a decade of British dinner parties) can’t be wrong.

Duck always makes me think of asian flavours, like star anise and ginger. In many Northern European languages, the orange translates as the Chinese apple, so I knew that this fusion would also be welcome. So I ruminated some more, and finally decided upon this recipe.

I also have a number of meals with leftovers (that may, in turn create other meals in a some kind of recipe tumblr) that will follow this, so there was really no other choice than to use a whole duck. The leftover meals will feature a logical progression in coming posts.

So, we bought an organic, free range whole duck. Disappointingly, it was minus the giblets. I like the giblets, and they really contribute to a stock – indeed, you can get a twofer on stock if you have giblets, as you can make a quick stock with them, then have a slower cooked one with the bones later on. This would have made an amazing gravy. Why don’t they do this any more? If you are going to eat meat, I think that you should eat all of the animal, it shouldn’t have to die for the best cuts only. Plus, you know, duck liver on toast would have been nice.

The duck did come with a lot of quills under the skin. Since the skin was to hold the glaze, and considering how long I had been thinking about it, I wanted nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the crisp, glazed skin. So, the quills had to go. I turned myself cross-eyed trying to remove them all. There is probably a really easy technique to doing this, and if you know what it is, please let me know in the comments.

The disadvantage of the way I come up with recipes is that I often decide to make things without having attempted the techniques that underly them. It is the same with this recipe – I have never cooked a duck before. Not being one to be beaten by a little lack of technique, I turned to the internet. There I found the Hungry Mouse. She has a beautifully illustrated step by step guide to slow roasting a duck, with an alternative glaze. As soon as I saw it, I knew that this was the way I was going to cook my duck. Essentially, the slow roasting and turning will sort of confit the duck, which may have made an interesting take on rillettes, but not this time.

Anyway, this all worked out in the end, because by the time I’d finished cogitating, and had done my research, bought the bird, and plucked it properly, it turned out it was my birthday weekend, St Patrick’s day, and the last matched in the 6 Nations, so I decided to cook up a storm for the Big Guy and I before it all kicked off for the weekend. A friend also popped by, and she ended up staying for a three course dinner. And very welcome she was, too.

Recipe: Marmalade Glazed Duck


1 medium duck

½ orange, cut into quarters

Few sprigs of thyme

3 garlic cloves, left whole

For the Glaze:

3 tbsp marmalade (orange will also do, but I had clementine)

1 tbsp Cointreau

Juice of ½ an orange

1 tsp ground ginger

2 star anise

Small pinch dried chili flakes

For the Gravy:

Juices from the roasting tray – making sure you have removed as much of the fat as possible. Keep the fat in a jar, you will definitely need this later.

2 tbsp plain flour

Small glass of red wine

500 ml stock. Duck stock would be good, if you managed to snaffle some giblets. I used rabbit stock, which was surprisingly meaty.


Cook the duck according to Hungry Mouse’s very-easy-to-follow directions and photos. The only thing I did differently was that I stuffed the bird with some aromatics (orange, thyme, garlic), which you shouldn’t pack in too tightly, it is important that air can circulate around the cavity. And I didn’t truss the legs up. The butcher (not my usual one) had “kindly” lopped off all the bits that don’t have a lot of meat on them, including everything below the bird’s drumstick, and the wing tips. Most people would appreciate this, but for me this was just even less to go in the stock pot. It also meant that there was nothing to truss or tuck up, so I didn’t.

The glaze is very easy to make, put all of the ingredients into a pan, and melt them on a low heat. Let them simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep in the liquid.

Once the bird has been cooking for four hours (and you have turned it, as per the directions), and you have removed the last of the fat, then glaze it with the spiced marmalade mixture. While you are doing this, turn your oven up to maximum and let it come up to temperature.

I used a pastry brush, and made sure I had glazed all of the skin, including the parsons nose. Keep brushing over the bird until there is no more glaze left.

Put the bird back into the oven, for 5-10 minutes, while the oven is high. I was also roasting some potatoes in some of the duck fat. To ensure that I was crisping the duck, not burning the potatoes, I put the potatoes on a low shelf and the duck on a higher one. When the duck was done, I turned the oven back down, put the potatoes on the top shelf and added a rhubarb and apple crumble, which we had with ice cream for dessert. Of course, this bit is optional.

Allow the bird to rest. It is really important to rest meat, it makes it a lot juicier, and relaxed meat is less likely to be tough. For steaks and cuts of meat, a good rule of thumb is to rest it in a warm place for half of the cooking time. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to a joint that you have cooked for four hours. Unless you want to eat the bird cold, in which case, go right ahead. Instead, I covered it with tin foil and a couple of tea towels then I set it aside for the time it took me to make a gravy, and for us to eat our starter (wild garlic salad with quails egg, and ramson pesto – which will feature in a salad post soon).

Make the gravy while the bird rests. First, heat up the stock in a pan.

Even removing as much of the fat as you can, you will still have enough to make the beginnings of a roux. Stir the flour into the fat and roasting pan juices. Put the roasting tin on the heat, and cook the flour out for a minute or two, stirring, so it doesn’t catch.This is so that your gravy doesn’t taste like raw flour later.

Deglaze the pan using the red wine. You will need the heat fairly high, and you will need to poke at all the stuck on meaty bits, so that they come away from the bottom of the dish.

If you want to be cheffy, or don’t want any lumps in your gravy, then strain the deglazed juices through a sieve. I usually just use a whisk to combine the fat and flour, so I don’t get huge lumps, and don’t bother to sieve it. Either way, add it to the stock, and continue to heat while you eat your starter, to allow the gravy to thicken

Roast Duck, Kale, Vichy Carrots & Roast Potatoes

Dinner is Served!

I served this with some braised kale, vichy carrots, and potatoes roasted in the duck fat. It was definitely a good match for the glaze, which made really crispy skin, even though the meat was falling off the bone. A really good start to a busy weekend.


Filed under Feast