Gressingham Duck with Garlic and Shallot Confit and Sauternes Sauce

Gressingham ducks are a relatively new variety developed in northern England from mallards. They are small, lean animals which provide dark, steak-like meat not dissimilar to French Challans ducks. As with French varieties Gressingham ducks are best served pink. Their advantage is that they are more tender than the Challans.

Mine are raised, under licence, on a farm near Bodmin in Cornwall, but they are becoming quite widely available around the country.

Ingredients

  • 2 Gressingham ducks
  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 4 fl oz (120 ml) milk
  • 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 fl oz (120 ml) Sauterne(s)
  • 8 fl oz (250 ml) veal sauce base

Method

  1. Boil the garlic cloves and shallots in the milk for 4 minutes, then drain and thoroughly dry with kitchen paper. Wrap in silver foil with a knob of butter ready for cooking with the ducks.
  2. Season the ducks with salt and pepper and place them in a roasting tray along with the foil parcel of garlic and shallots.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 450°F (230°C) Gas 8. Remove the ducks from the oven. Carve off the legs and return them to the oven for a further 10 minutes’ cooking while the breasts rest.

To Complete

  • Now take out the duck legs and the foil packet with garlic and shallots. Empty the roasting tray of fat and pour in first the Sauternes and then the veal sauce base. Bring this to the boil, then strain into a jug.
  • Carve the breasts into slivers and lay these on the plates along with the legs and confit vegetables. Pour the sauce around the duck.