Category Archives: Meat

Mallard with candy beets

Tomorrow my wisdom teeth come out. After a day high on morphine, I will be spending the next two weeks eating food that does not require much chewing. Pretty much my idea of hell. I intend to make up for that in advance, so meat it is.

Yesterday, I went to the market in search of a glorious t-bone steak. Or alternatively duck breasts. I came back with a whole mallard instead, and some beautiful candy beets.

A mallard is a rather skinny bird, and also not very big. It serves two, but only just.

1 mallard
1 onion
1 cooking apple (such as bramley)
2 medium candy beets
salt, pepper, olive oil
100 ml (or so) of stock
a handfull of asparagus (green)

Turn on the oven to 160C (fan). Peel and slice the beets into coins, season, and put in a roasting tin. Peel and quarter the apple and onion. Clean the mallard, stuff with the apple and onion, rub with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on top of the beets. Put in the oven, middle shelf, and roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the juices should still be bloody – otherwise your oven is set too high. Add the stock, and return the duck to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Check that the juices run absolutely clear. If they do not, roast some more. If done, leave the duck to rest in the warm oven for 10-15 minutes.

While the bird is resting, heat a griddle pan until very hot and sear the asparagus. I like crunch, alas I cook them for only about 5 minutes.

Plate up and enjoy with a nice glass of wine. We had a great French: Ch√Ęteau Plaisance Fronton (2011) from Corks of Cotham (which is a gem!). Bio and unfiltered. A light wine with some minerality.

Corks of Cotham:

Pot roast chicken in vermouth

This is comfort food. Perfect for stormy weather.

2 chicken thighs

1 stick of celery

1/2 fennel bulb

4 banana shallots (or baby leeks)

4 medium potatoes

lemon thyme

100 ml vermouth

100 ml stock (veal, chicken or veg)

a handfull of almonds

salt, pepper, olive oil

You will need an oven-proof casserole for this – preferably one of the le Creusset ones. It should be just big enough to take everything – you do not want the chicken to touch the liquid.

Finely dice the celery. Slice the fennel finely, and peel the potatoes and cut into thin coins.

Brown the chicken thighs on all sides in a little olive oil. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Turn down the heat. Sweat the celery and fennel in the chicken fat left in the casserole. Add a glug of oil if there is not enough. After 5 minutes or so, add a few sprigs of lemon thyme, the vermouth and stock. Season w salt and pepper, and leave to simmer for some 5 minutes.

Layer the potato coins neatly on top of the celery/fennel mix. Season again, then place the chicken thighs on top, and tuck in the shallots. Season once more, and let the dish simmer (lid on, but ever so slightly ajar) at the lowest possible heat for 30 minutes. Set the oven to 175 C (fan).

Transfer the dish to the hot oven, lid removed. Leave to roast for approximately 20 minutes. It may need 5 minutes less, or 5 minutes more. Just keep an eye on it.

While the chicken casserole is roasting in the oven, gently toast the almonds (preferably blanched) until nicely golden brown. Set aside.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Plate up and sprinkle over the toasted almonds and some of the juices.