I am a massive fan of Masterchef – MASSIVE! I find the psychology behind competitive cooking fascinating. If you can cook and provide food for yourself and others, then you are essentially a successful human being. Therefore, the people competing on Masterchef, I feel, are competing to be the most successful human being. Maybe a little dramatic, but I’m still literally sat on the edge of my seat each episode.
Anyhoo, Michael Roux Jr recorded two ‘classics masterclass’ shows to accompany the series. One of the dishes was ‘Dodine de Canard’ – a beautiful boned duck, stuffed with all kinds od delicious meat. Obviously it took about 3 minutes to prepare on TV and looked beautiful.
With New Year’s Eve approaching and 16 people to cook for, this was like a red flag to a bull. Brilliant. I’ll go onto BBC Food and get the recipe. Nope! Hmmmm, I’ll go on to google and get a recipe. Nope! I’ll look through all my cookbooks – NOPE! Ah.
Being somewhat ambitious, I decided that the lack of recipe would not hold me back. I watched the masterclass over and over again, figuring that I would order the meat I needed based on the portion sizes used in the episode. Luckily, there were plenty of other people with the same idea as me, and I used their blogs to help me out.
I also managed to track down an actual recipe in Larousse Gastronomique – which was photographed and text to me by my Chef brother!
I mished the two recipes together and came up with this:
Warning: This takes three days to prepare!
I bought two ducks – they were both fairly large, about 2.5KG each.
The ingredients shown below will stuff ONE large duck:
2 tablespoons of mead
Pinch ground fennel seeds
250g bacon fat
250g lean pork
250g chicken livers (also marinated in 2tbsp mead)
250g button mushrooms
Handful chopped parsley
Bone out the duck. I left most of the breast meat and leg meat on, just because I love duck! The meat off the carcass I added to the mincemeat.
I crushed the fennel seeds, mixed them with salt, pepper and mead and rubbed it into the duck skin. This had to go in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to seep in.
The next day, I minced the pork fat, pork meat, chicken livers and mushrooms and mixed this with the parsley and breadcrumbs. Season and cook off a small amount to test the flavour.
Stuff the duck with the mincemeat and then sew it back together (this bit is fun!) If you had any accidental holes from boning you can sew them back together now, but remember how many pieces of string you need to remove later.
I tied the front legs together to give shape, scored the skin and rubbed in a couple of teaspoons of sea salt.
I cooked the duck slowly in the oven,and in the last hour basted it in honey. This gives an amazing flavour to the skin and gives a really deep caramel colour to the duck. This now needs to rest in the fridge for 24 hours to allow all the meat to ‘set’.
A lot of fat will come out of the duck during cooking, and I drained this out of the roasting dish – saving and freezing it for future roast potatoes obviously!
I served it as a starter on New Year Eve, with oatcakes and some proper posh boozy chutney – it was delicious and such a great talking point.
As I had the duck meat on the legs, the pregnant members of our party could indulge minus the pate. definitely a winner if you have fussy eaters as some people are not pate fans!
This was one of the most fun dishes I have ever made – and definitely one of the most delicious. I planned to cook this as a once-in-a-lifetime dish, as it is expensive and takes so long…. however, I will definitely be cooking this again – it was fab-u-lous darling!