layer marney

layer marney lamb

January 14th, 2013

I saw some lovely fat mallards in the Farmers’ Market last weekend and then kicked myself for not buying one. A mallard is a large variety of wild duck indigenous to the British Isles, though some migrate between other European countries and Iceland.



I was very pleased to see that Layer Marney Lamb had some more this week and at a very good price. My duck is the big one in the middle with the sign. I commented on their nice plump pheasants and was offered a brace for £6 – how could I resist? Both the pheasant and mallard weighed about 2lb each, so one’s enough to feed two people. I won’t be needing any other meat this week!

raw duck

raw duck

I generally cook duck and geese in the same way. Pricked over to release the fat in the skin and flavoured a little with herbs and seasoning. I put half a lemon, some salt, pepper, a few sprigs of rosemary, sage, thyme, 6 pieces of garlic and a teaspoonful of goose fat inside this mallard.

roast duck

roast duck

It was roasted in a pre heated oven at 250ºC for the first 20 minutes and then for a further 40 minutes at 180ºC. It’s worth turning ducks and geese during the cooking process to brown them all over. A lot of fat will come out during cooking, putting a rack into the tray is a good idea, so that the bird isn’t frying in its own fat. Pour the fat off at intervals – use some for roasting potatoes and any extra can be refrigerated in a  jar (it keeps for a long time). In my experience, ducks and geese are generally done when the skin looks crispy and golden. They should be served slightly pink – if in doubt use a meat thermometer – you want the internal temperature to be 74ºC.

port gravy

port gravy

I’m not a fan of meat and fruit combined, my taste buds are very savoury. However, adding a little splash of Taylors Late Bottled Vintage Port to the gravy does go well with duck or goose. I like a tiny hint of sweetness as opposed to saturation. For me, pudding comes after the meat or fish course, not with it. If there’s some good cheese on offer I’ll skip dessert completely. See here for my gravy recipe.

Serve with roast potatoes, gravy and seasonal vegetables – cauliflower, sprouts, leeks, carrots, etc. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Cariñena Gran Reserva, with my duck – a red Cabernet Sauvignon, Temperanillo, Garnacha from Spain.

Other Duck posts

External recipe links:

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

About Mad Dog
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35 Responses to Mallard

  1. That looks stunning matey, never tried wild duck, but will certainly be after some now. The skin looks wonderful and crispy.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Marcus, I hadn’t had big ones like that before. I’ve shot a few small teal and ducks and bought a few large farmed ones, but that was the first big wild one. It was very tender too and no fishy taste 🙂

  2. rutheh says:

    I bet your roast duck was delicious! love the market to table sequence.

  3. I love roast duck and wild duck most of all. Lucky you!

  4. Tessa says:

    Years ago when I used to hunt duck, mallard was always my favorite duck to bring home. Like you said, it’s a good sized duck for two people to share. Teal were a bit small (two per serving) and widgeon was about the right size for only one person. The crispy skin on your mallard looks so delicious! You really did an outstanding job on that bird :).

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tessa, I love duck, especially big ones. I particularly enjoy the crispy skin above the soft fat and the the texture of the meat (providing it’s not tough) 😉
      I had smoked duck for lunch today too!

  5. Michelle says:

    Port gravy—nice!

  6. ¿Vas a seguir? You are KILLING me….

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    You’ve put me in quite a quandary, my friend. Duck was on sale just before Christmas and I bought 2, intending to butcher each, using the breasts to make duck prosciutto. Now you write this delicious post and the destiny of at least one of those ducks is not nearly as certain as it was minutes ago. Methinks I need to get another duck.

  8. I can’t believe the price of the mallard – serious bargain. The roast duck looks glorious and I can taste it from here. Just perfect.

  9. ¡Fantástico! Me gustan mucho estas recetas que no necesitan mucha atención, pero que quedan ricas ricas…y por la foto, no me cabe ninguna duda 😉

  10. ¡Quack! Ok, am beginning to get seriously fed up of you and your lovely roast duck/mallard….;) Only joking, I think the word is “jealous”! I need to spend less time painting front garden walls in temperatues of 2 degrees and more time sniffing out bargains like these at the local butchers!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – come to the farmers market next week – I’ve never seen such cheap game. It’s going to be -2º C from tomorrow, you can’t work outside in that 😉

  11. Conor Bofin says:

    Fantastic looking duck MD. Despite mallards living in every wet pothole in Ireland, we get nearly all our duck from one (farmed) supplier over here. Nothing wrong with them but…
    BTW, eldest daughter and I both still laughing at the biscuit city. Really enjoyed that.

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