Wild duck with grapes and radicchio
We will soon be stocking wild mallard as the season gets underway. This duck recipe is an easy introduction to cooking with game. Serve as an alternative to your standard Sunday roast. Serves 2.
- 1 mallard, about 600g, oven-ready from Turnbull's
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 2 strips orange zest
- ¼ cinnamon stick
- 50g butter
- 1 radicchio
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Small bunch red grapes on the stem, about 200g
- 1 large tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- Prepare the mallard. Check there are no feathery stubs still attached to the skin and pick out those that you can find (a pair of cooks’ tweezers will help). Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the herbs, orange zest, cinnamon stick and half the butter. Set aside.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cut the radicchio into quarters, leaving the leaves attached at the base, then drop into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain well and set aside on a clean cloth or piece of paper towel.
- Heat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/gas 9. Season the bird with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole (or oven proof sauté pan) on a medium-high heat and brown the mallard very well (it will take a good 15 minutes to do properly). Making sure the bird is breast-side up in the pot, transfer it to the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Add the radicchio and the grapes to the pot, then roast for a further 10 minutes, turning the radicchio and grapes halfway through. To check if the duck is done, give the breasts a gentle squeeze – they should be firm yet giving, like a perfectly ripe peach.
- Transfer the bird to a board, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the butter to the pot and put it back on a high heat for just a minute, to melt the butter, bring the juices to a boil and make sure the radicchio and grapes are warmed through.
- Carve the mallard as you would a chicken – serve the breasts off the bone and the legs bone-in. The meat won’t be piping hot, as it’s medium-rare, so serve it quickly on warm plates, garnished with the radicchio and grapes, drizzled with the scant but flavoursome sauce.