Wild duck with fig and cranberries

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Mark Dodson serves up a stunning wild duck recipe, paired with some festive cranberries and fig for a bit of Christmas cheer.

First published in 2017




Wild duck


  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 75g of sugar
  • 100ml of red wine vinegar
  • 200ml of veal stock
  • 200ml of chicken stock, made with 200ml water and 1 2/3 tsp Essential Cuisine concentrated chicken stock


  • 120g of pearl barley, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 200ml of chicken stock, made with 200ml water and 1 2/3 tsp Essential Cuisine concentrated chicken stock (or you can use vegetable stock
  • 75ml of double cream
  • 30g of Parmesan, finely grated

Pearl barley risotto

Jerusalem artichoke crisps

To serve

  • 4 figs
  • 120g of French beans


To prepare the ducks, remove the wishbones and carefully slice the breasts from the ducks. Remove the legs. Chop up the carcass and set aside for the sauce
For the sauce, heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the chopped carcass, shallot and carrot. Once coloured, add the sugar and cook for a minute or two. Deglaze with red wine vinegar and bring back to the boil
Add the veal stock and chicken stock and leave to cook gently. After an hour, pass the sauce through a fine sieve and reduce to a nice sauce consistency
To make the pearl barley risotto, heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onion so it is soft but not coloured. Rinse the pearl barley then add it to the pan and stir with a spatula
Add the white wine, bring to the boil a cook for a minute, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir often until the barley is tender and the stock is reduced, which should take about 20 minutes
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 200ml of chicken stock, (or veg stock)
Add the cream and bring to the boil again. Finally add the grated Parmesan. Season if necessary, bearing in mind the saltiness of the cheese
  • 75ml of double cream
  • 30g of Parmesan, finely grated
To prepare the cranberries, boil the port with the sugar and the orange peel. Add the cranberries and return to the boil. Turn of the heat, cover the pan with cling film and leave to cool
Peel, finely slice, wash and dry the Jerusalem artichokes. Deep-fry them in hot oil to make crisps. Drain them on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt
Top and tail the figs. With a sharp knife, make four cuts across the top giving 8 segments. Be careful to only cut the fig 2 thirds of the way down. Dust with icing sugar and then colour under the grill
In a hot pan brushed with oil, season and cook the duck breasts and legs, starting with the skin-side down. Once the breast is cooked pink until pink in the middle, remove it from the pan to rest but give the legs an extra 5 minutes. Set aside to rest
Cook the trimmed french beans in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes
Once rested, carve the duck breasts. Plate up the risotto and beans, then top with the duck leg and breast. Finish with the fig, cranberries and sauce

Mark Dodson speaks the language of comfort food with Shakespearean fluency, turning perfectly formed elements into down-to-earth (but heavenly) compositions.

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