Honey-glazed mallard, confit leg, turnips, cavolo nero

  • medium
  • 4
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
Not yet rated

Paul Welburn's stunning mallard recipe sees the crowns coloured in a pan before roasting in the oven to perfection, then glazed with a rich mixture of honey, star anise and juniper. The legs are cooked confit for a beautifully tender texture, and the birds are served with baby turnips, cavolo nero and a rich mallard duck sauce.

First published in 2018




Mallard duck

Duck sauce

To confit the duck legs

Mashed potato

Baby turnips

Honey glaze

Cavolo nero


  • Blender
  • Cooking thermometer


To begin, prepare the mallard legs. Add the curing salt ingredients to a blender and blitz together until well-combined. Cover the mallard legs in the salt mix in a dish and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
While the legs are curing, start the sauce. Spread the bones out on a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden
Add a dash of oil to a saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the shallots and carrots and cook until tender and golden. Add the garlic, spices and herbs, then deglaze the pan with the vinegar, scraping the base of the pan to remove any residue
Add the wine and port and reduce by half. Add the roasted bones and stock and simmer for 25–30 minutes
Rinse the salt from the mallard legs and pat dry. Add the legs to a saucepan fitted with a cooking thermometer, add the thyme and garlic and pour over the melted duck fat, ensuring the legs are completely covered. Place over a low heat and steadily confit at 85°C for 2 hours. Do not allow the temperature to go above 85°C, or the meat will start to fry and toughen
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Place the potatoes for the mash on a baking tray and cook in the oven until completely tender inside
Meanwhile, pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean pan and reduce over a medium-high heat until it reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste and set aside
When the mallard legs are ready, carefully drain from the fat. Twist the thigh bone out of the leg, leaving the drumstick bone in place. Set aside
Now cook the turnips. Add the water to a pan, bring to a simmer then whisk in the butter. Add the turnips and cook until tender, for approximately 20 minutes
To make the honey glaze, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the liquid by one third and set aside
When ready to cook the duck crowns, heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan. Season the crowns, inside and out, and place the crowns in the pan breast-side down. Caramelise all over the breasts until golden, draining any excess fat as it renders
Once nicely golden, add a large knob of butter, garlic and thyme, basting the birds in the foaming butter
Sit the crowns up, fill the cavities with a little extra thyme and the garlic from the pan, place in the oven with the potatoes and confit legs for 8 minutes, then baste every 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes
Remove the potatoes from the oven and scoop out the flesh. Heat the cream and butter in a pan to melt together. Pass the potato flesh through a potato ricer (or use a masher to mash) and beat in the cream and butter. Season to taste and set aside
To cook the cavolo nero, drain some of the butter emulsion from the turnips and heat in a pan. Add the cavolo nero, cook until wilted then drain. Season and set aside ready to plate
When ready to serve, make sure all the elements are nice and hot. Arrange the turnips and cavolo nero in the base of a serving tray and place the mallard crowns on top. Brush the crowns with the spiced glaze and sprinkle over thyme leaves and flaky sea salt. Arrange the crispy confit legs around the crowns, brushing with a little more glaze
Carve at the table, serving with the with the sauce and mashed potato on the side
First published in 2018

Paul Welburn has years of Michelin-star cooking behind him, holding a star for five years at restaurant W1.

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