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Love a duck!

Don’t you just love a duck? We in the Yorkshire Food Finder kitchen do… This recipe made an appearance when our gourmand on the go Sue Nelson demonstrated it in the game cookery theatre at last week’s Great Yorkshire Show. It’s been adapted from one created by that lovely Australian cook Donna Hay and would work equally well with chicken or guinea fowl.

2015-07-16 09.52.47It’s also a good year-rounder – for instance, serve with summer seasonal veg and new potatoes in the summer, and red cabbage and mash or roasties in the winter. There’s a couple of aspects to the recipe – smoked breasts in a way that’s easy to do at home, and slow cooked leg meat made into a lovely, rich and gamey style pie. Here goes…

Tea smoked duck breast and duck sherry pies


For the tea smoked duck breast

115g orange pekoe or darjeeling tea leaves

Few strips of slow dried orange peel (Using a peeler peel the peel from an orange, remove the pith and dry in a very low oven)

200g long grain rice

85g brown sugar

4 duck breasts

Salt and pepper

For the duck and sherry pies

4 duck legs

Salt and pepper

8 eschalots (banana shallots), peeled

100g chestnut mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Good handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 tbsp plain flour

100ml sherry vinegar

500ml chicken stock

1 500ml bottle Pedro Ximenez sherry

Good glug of marsala wine

1 egg & 1 tbsp single cream

For the duck fat pastry

1 tsp caraway seeds

80ml water

75g duck fat

Good pinch salt crystals

185g plain flour


To smoke the duck place the tea leaves, dried orange peel, rice and brown sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Line a large deep-sided roasting tin with thick foil (turkey foil is good), and spread the rice mixture evenly. Lightly grease a wire rack and place in the pan, making sure it sits above the smoking mixture.

Place the roasting pan over a high heat, sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper. When the rice mixture begins to smoke, place the duck skin side up on the rack, cover tightly with thick foil and smoke for 8 minutes. Keep the roasting pan on the heat during this period, then remove it from the heat and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes, still covered.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the smoked duck skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Turn over and cook for a further minute or so for medium rare. Allow to rest before carving.

To make the pies, preheat the oven to 170C and heat a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the duck legs, skin side down, sprinkle with seasoning and cook for 6-7 minutes each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

Using 1 tbsp of the fat that’s rendered from the legs while cooking, add the eschalots, the mushrooms, salt and pepper, garlic and sage and cook until coloured. Add the flour, mix in quickly and cook for a further minute.

Add the vinegar, stock, sherry and marsala and stir to combine, add the duck and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for up to 2 hours or until tender. Allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled remove the duck from the sauce, remove any fat from the surface and then set aside.

For the pastry grind the caraway seeds with a pestle in a mortar. Put the water, duck fat and salt in a small pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the flour and caraway seed and stir until you get a smooth dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchment to  5mm thick.

Shred the meat from the legs, cutting into smaller pieces if necessary, mix the meat with the sauce and put into 4 small copper pans or small pie dishes. Whisk the egg and single cream together, and brush the rims, then cut out pastry tops to fit. Brush with the egg and cream wash and bake until the pastry is golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve.


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I'm Sue Nelson and I love food. And not just eating it. For years I've been bowled over by the food that my adopted county has to offer. More about us


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