Roast duck with crispy duck hash and local beer gravy, spring greens and glazed carrots

Serves: 4 PrepTime: 1 hr CookTime: 2 hrs

INGREDIENTS

2 ducks
coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
goose fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the beer gravy
groundnut oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 tbsp muscovado brown sugar
250ml/9fl oz beer (preferably Shepherd Neame 'Spitfire')
300ml/10fl oz chicken stock
200ml/7fl oz ready-made veal or beef gravy

For the crispy duck hash
50g/2oz shallots, finely chopped
olive oil
3 large baking potatoes, baked until cooked
cooked duck leg meat (see above), torn into strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 knobs of butter
For the orange curd carrots
675g/1lb 7oz carrots, thickly sliced (or cut into barrel shapes, allowing three pieces per portion)
2 tbsp ready-made orange curd
knob of butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spring greens
450g/1lb spring greens, stalks removed and leaves torn into pieces
large knob of butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

Remove the legs from the ducks. Roast in the oven for 1-1½ hours until completely tender. Remove the meat from the leg bones, discarding any fat and keep to one side.

Chop away the central leg carcass from each bird, leaving the two breasts attached to the breast bone. Reserve the breasts.

To make the beer gravy, trim all the fat from the carcasses, then chop them and fry in some groundnut oil in a saucepan until well coloured. Add the sliced onions and continue to fry over a moderate heat to a rich golden brown. Stir in the sugar, then pour the beer on top. Bring to the boil and reduce by three quarters before adding the chicken stock and continuing to boil and reduce by half.

Add the veal or beef gravy. Bring back to a simmer, skimming off any excess fat, cooking for a further 30 minutes before straining. Should the sauce be too thin, simply boil to a sauce consistency, but do not allow the flavour to become too strong. Set aside. (The sauce can be made well in advance and refrigerated until needed.) Reheat for serving.

To cook the duck breasts, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas

In a non-stick frying pan, gently fry the duck breasts, skin-side down, on the hob. As they fry the fat will melt away, leaving a thinner and crisper finish. Continue to fry until all the breasts are a rich, golden brown colour - this may well take between 10-15 minutes. Turn skin-side up and place in the oven to finish cooking for 6-10 minutes; depending on the size of the ducks. Once roasted, allow to rest.

Meanwhile, make the hash. Sweat the chopped shallots in a little of the olive oil until tender. Scoop the potato flesh from the skins and mix it with the cooked shallots and duck leg meat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the duck hash mix into four and press into buttered rectangular or round moulds, or simply shape into cakes. Fry in butter until golden brown before turning each and roasting in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

To prepare the glazed carrots, cook the carrots in boiling salted water until tender. Once cooked, drain off the water, leaving a few tablespoons in the pan and leave to one side just before serving. Gently stir in the orange curd and butter until completely melted, glazing every slice, and warmed through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the carrots are cooking, plunge the spring greens into a large pan of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until tender. Drain. Place the butter into the same saucepan and once melted, stir in the spring greens, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1To serve, remove the duck breasts from the bone and cut each into three or four slices. Place the hash towards the top of the plate with the carrots and spring greens arranged on either side beneath. Present the duck on top of the greens offering the beer gravy on the side.