"I adore this dish. The almost sticky red cabbage is not overly sweet and has just the right amount of sharpness. The mallard breast is cooked in a pan and shown the oven for just a minute or two. Served with a little garlic, thyme and clapshot - essential in these chilly months to warm the soul."
30 minutes prep time, 2 hours cooking time
2 mallard or wild duck breasts, skin on
2 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed, Roosters are good
200g turnip, peeled, diced, boiled and mashed
1/3 small red cabbage, cut thinly with a sharp knife
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of mixed spice
A small handful of Californian raisins
1/3 apple, grated
1 star anise
1 glass of red wine
2 tablespoons of bramble vinegar
Good salt and pepper
2 small parsnips, peeled and blanched in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and refreshed in cold water
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, halved
1 tablespoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil for frying
50g butter, diced into 1cm cubes
Around 100ml stock for reducing, chicken, game or beef will do
Heat oven to 180°C
Begin by placing the shredded cabbage, jelly, cinnamon, spice, raisins, grated apple, star anise, red wine (leave a small amount in the glass for later) and vinegar into a large pot, season and place onto the hob on a moderate heat with the lid on. Leave for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not let it burn, if it looks like it’s getting too hot, turn down the heat and add a splash of water.
Prepare the clapshot by combining the mashed potatoes and turnip whilst they are still hot. Season with salt, a lot of pepper and nearly all the butter, leaving some for the mallard. Keep to one side in a warm place.
Heat the oil in an oven-proof frying pan and place the mallard breasts in the pan skin side down, alongside the parsnips, thyme and garlic and begin to caramelise the duck and parsnips together. Add a knob of butter and season. Turn the duck and parsnips over after a couple of minutes, then place the pan in the oven for a minute or two.
Remove from the oven and place the duck on a plate to rest. Continue to fry the parsnips if they need colour.
Deglaze the frying pan with the remaining red wine until it reduces and incorporates all the bits of roasting goodness from the pan. Then add some stock, and reduce again for a few minutes until the sauce is rich and dark. Add a knob of butter and incorporate.
To plate up, place a spoonful of red cabbage on each plate and add a dollop of clapshot alongside. Then carve the mallard on a slant giving 6 to 8 slices from each breast, and place that from the knife on to the plate. Lean the parsnip on the clapshot and garnish with a trickle of sauce.