Fillets of Duck with Mushrooms

This recipe comes from Richard Dolby, well known in the early nineteenth century as the head cook of the Thatched House Tavern in St James’s. There is a similar recipe in a Kentish eighteenth-century manuscript from a manor house near Tenterden, but I give Dolby’s recipe because it is much clearer.

Serve plain boiled rice or creamed potato and green peas flavoured with mint with this dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 ducks
  • 1 lb (½ kg) mushrooms
  • ½ bottle dry white wine
  • cups (120 g) parsley, finely chopped
  • cup finely chopped shallots
  • ¾ cup (90 g) flour
  • cups (6 dl) strong brown stock
  • sticks (150 g) butter
  • cups (240 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Slice the mushrooms, stalks and all, and marinate them in the wine for 30 minutes or a little longer. Cut the fillets from the breast of each duck and cut the meat from the thighs into neat pieces. Mix the parsley and shallots into the flour. (The large amount of parsley is very important as it adds to the subtle flavour of the dish.)

Pour off the wine from the mushrooms, add it to the stock, and boil until reduced by half. Meanwhile, roll the duck fillets and pieces in the flour, parsley and shallots mixture and fry them gently in half the butter until just golden on both sides.

Lightly butter a large shallow ovenproof dish and place a layer of mushrooms on the bottom. On these place the duck pieces and over them a further layer of mushrooms. Season the reduced stock rather highly, using freshly ground black pepper, and pour over the duck and mushrooms. Cover the dish and place in a moderate oven, 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4), for 30 minutes.

Take out the dish and scatter thickly with the breadcrumbs. Melt the remaining butter and spoon it over the breadcrumbs. Brown under a hot grill.