Perfect Wild Duckby Robert Gooch February 01 2017
Wild duck, with its delicious rich and deep flavour, is a taste to savour. With just a few simple tips, you can make sure your wild duck is cooked to perfection every time.
Large or small
Fresh wild duck can be enjoyed from September until 20th February. Outside of the open season, wild duck is available frozen.
Mallard, the classic wild duck, is the largest and will feed 2–3 people. Choose from whole ducks, boned and stuffed birds or breasts.
Wigeon and pintail (or natural hybrids of these species) will feed 1 person each. Depending on your appetite, a teal, the smallest of our wild ducks, is just about big enough for one – although many prefer to allow 2 per person.
Two rules for cooking wild duck
When buying from us, you can be sure your wild duck will be fresh and carefully sourced, with minimal bruising or blemishes. This is the first rule for enjoying wild duck: always source it carefully.
Wild ducks, like all game birds, naturally have less fat than farmed animals as a result of their diet and active lives. For this reason, the second rule for wild duck is to be careful not to overcook it. Perfectly cooked wild duck is juicy and tender. Overcooked wild duck, on the other hand, can be tough and dry so keep a close eye on the clock during cooking.
Wild duck is beautiful roasted whole in a hot oven. Preheat your oven to the temperature and pat your duck dry using kitchen paper. Prick the skin and season well with salt and pepper.
For crispier skin, brown the duck in oil or duck fat in a hot frying pan before roasting. Otherwise, brush the duck with olive oil before placing it in your roasting tin.
A mallard will roast in around 30 minutes or less and need between 5 and 15 minutes resting time, while a teal will cook in about 10 minutes with 10 minutes resting time. Check wild duck towards the end of its cooking time: the juices should still run red and the meat should be pink.
Cut into pieces, wild duck makes a tasty casserole too. Our mallard breasts are also delicious grilled, pan-fried or sautéed.
Ideal flavours for wild duck
“Meat from wild duck is outstanding,” chef Tom Kitchen writes in The Scotsman.
“It’s deeply rich and full of flavour but you need something quite sharp or fruity as a natural match to really cut through that richness.”
Fruits: apple, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, elderberries, orange
Herbs: juniper berries, thyme, rosemary, sage
Spices: pepper, star anise, coriander, cloves, cumin
Alcohol: sloe gin, cassis, full-bodied red wines
Our favourite recipes
- Honey-glazed five-spice wild duck with Chinese pancakes and rhubarb ketchup by Madalene Bovini-Hamel
- Roast wild duck & root vegetables by Game-to-Eat
- Mallard ducks with wild thyme and green peppercorns by Jean-François Mallet
- Roast mallard with gnocchi by Tom Kitchen Wild duck with blackcurrant and cassis sauce by Matt Tebbutt
- Roast teal, purple sprouting broccoli and salsify by Tom Kitchen
- Roasted breast of mallard with crispy leg, pumpkin soup and roasted chestnuts by Robert Thompson
- Salad of seared duck breast with watercress and pomegranate by José Pizarro