Spice roasted mallard with heritage carrots and fennel


A wonderful roasted duck recipe from Clare Smyth MBE.

Spice roasted mallard with heritage carrots and fennel

Serves 2


Duck spice

2 tbsp fennel seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1/2 tbsp Szechuan pepper 

2 tbsp lavender flowers


Roasted mallard

1 whole mallard duck

150g blossom honey

Duck spice 

Maldon sea salt


Duck sauce

1kg duck bones (chopped)

3 banana shallot (sliced)

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tsp white peppercorns

1/4 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

500ml medium dry Madeira 

1l chicken stock

1l veal stock



Citrus glaze

200ml orange juice (strained)

200ml Champagne vinegar 

200g caster sugar 


Citrus fennel powder

5 medium sized oranges 

3 lemons

3 limes

1 tbsp fennel pollen


Carrot purée

6 large orange carrots

6 large yellow carrots

1/4 tsp Chardonnay vinegar


Fennel hearts

1 medium sized head of fennel

50ml chicken/vegetable stock 

20ml olive oil

Salt to taste

Young heritage carrots

1 bunch baby orange carrot

1 bunch baby yellow carrots

1 bunch baby purple carrots 

50ml olive oil 

200ml chicken or vegetable stock

25g unsalted butter 



Duck spice

In a spice grinder, combine the fennel, coriander and Szechuan pepper and grind to a coarse texture. Then add the lavender and grind again. Be careful not to grind the lavender too much. Set aside in an air tight container. 

Roast mallard

Remove and discard the feathers, neck, wing tips, feet and innards. Clean out the cavity with paper towel, removing any excess blood. Now blow torch the duck all over to help remove any small feathers and to start rendering the fat from the bird. Once torched, pat the bird dry using kitchen paper, then truss using butchers' twine. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. In a pan, seal the whole duck on all sides. Remove from the pan and place on a roasting rack. Glaze the duck with the honey and sprinkle the duck spice on the bird and season with sea salt. Place into the oven for 3 minutes then turn for another 3 minutes. Take out of oven and rest for 10 minutes. 

Duck sauce

Roast the bones in a heavy-based pot until they are golden brown, making sure to scrape the  sediment from the bottom of the pan from time to time. Add the shallots, garlic, peppercorns, bay and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Now add half the Madeira and reduce to a glaze before adding the remaining Madeira and reducing again by half. Now add the two stocks and bring to the boil. Skim the stock and turn down to a medium heat and cook for 45 minutes before passing the sauce through a fine sieve. Check the seasoning and set aside.

Citrus glaze

Combine all the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce by half and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and store in a squeeze bottle or airtight container. Can be kept in the fridge for a week. 

Citrus fennel powder

Using a peeler, peel the fruits then remove any excess pith. Transfer to a wire rack and place in a fan oven for 12 hours at 65˚C. Once dry, place in a spice grinder with fennel pollen and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. 

Carrot purée

Wash and peel the carrots, reserving two of each for juicing. Finely slice the remaining carrots using a mandolin, keeping the orange and yellow separate. Now juice the two remaining carrots and combine with the sliced carrots in two separate pans. Season and cover, bring to the boil, then cook on medium heat until the carrots are tender. Transfer to the blender and blend till smooth and pass through a sieve. To finish you will need to add the Chardonnay vinegar to the yellow purée. 

Fennel hearts

Wash and peel the fennel and then cut it in half along its widest axis. Combine the stock and oil and season well. Place the fennel and seasoned stock into a vacuum pouch and vacuum pac. Cook the fennel in a pot of water at 90˚C for 30 minutes until tender to touch. Once cooked, remove the fennel from the pot and transfer to an ice bath and leave to cool. Once cool, remove the fennel from the bag and place on kitchen paper. Portion each half into thirds, check seasoning. Set aside for later. 

Young heritage carrots

Wash all the carrots, then trim the stalks. Lightly peel the carrots then rinse again and dry. Pre-heat a large heavy-based sauté pan with a lid. Once the pan is hot, add some oil followed by the carrots and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook the carrots for 10 seconds then add 30ml of stock and continue to cook with the lid on. Keep checking and adding stock as required. Once the carrots are cooked, the stock should have reduced. Add some butter to create a nice glaze and check the seasoning. Transfer to a large tray or cool plate to cool down. 

To finish

Reheat the carrots, purée and sauce. Pan fry the fennel hearts till golden brown then deglaze the pan with citrus glaze to coat the fennel. Then dust with the citrus fennel spice to finish. Carve the breast off the crown of the duck, then carve each breast into three. Arrange the fennel and carrots on the plate, followed by the purée. Dust some more of the citrus fennel powder over the carrots and fennel. Place the duck breast on the plate and season with a little Maldon salt. Finally, garnish with some fresh bronze fennel and carrot tops. Et voila! 


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