a duck dinner


warm duck confit, baked onion & pear salad

When it comes to planning a menu, I tend to stick to ‘variety being the spice of life’ and go out of my way to avoid repeating ingredients throughout a meal. For example, if I was serving a pear salad, it would be very unlikely that I’d decide to go with a pear based dessert…  But sometimes there’s nothing better than choosing a hero and featuring it throughout the menu….and if the hero happens to go particularly well with pinot noir…well so much the better…

Duck is something that I loove. But while I always find it hard to resist duck on a restaurant menu, it’s not something I have the pleasure of cooking very often.  This is mainly because it can be difficult to find, especially my favourite duck legs but also the price can be prohibitive….I’ll never forget ordering duck marylands from a butcher in Edgecliff without asking the price first only to walk away with some golden legs that cost a whopping $32/kg…

Happily, I have recently discovered an awesome and reasonably priced source of duck: old mate Vic from Vic’s Meats in Mascot. Although their business is mainly wholesale and restaurant focused, they also sell retail and you can choose to have your order delivered or pick it up from their warehouse, conveniently located a few kilometres from my office…so with a local source of duck marylands at only $19/kg…I have a feeling there may be a lot more duck passing through my kitchen.

For Saturday’s duck dinner, I was lucky enough to put in a guest chef appearance at the lovely Missy Helgs’ spacious (and dishwasher equipped) kitchen in leafy Darling Point. I had planned on 3 courses of duck..the dessert being a duck egg souffle but duck eggs weren’t that easy to come by….Instead we ended up with a pretty-in-pink hot raspberry souffle served with decadent double cream bejewelled with dried rose petals…what is it with girls and pink?….all good things..

a duck dinner
warm duck confit, baked onion & pear salad
twice roasted duck legs with wilted radicchio and balsamic glaze
jerusalem artichokes roasted in duck fat
hot raspberry souffle with rose petal cream 

warm duck confit, baked onion & pear salad
serves 4 as a starter.

Due to a lack of time I cheated and went for purchased duck confit, but feel free to make your own.  The baked onion and pear salad is based on a recipe by Jared Ingersoll published recently in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living section.

If you wanted to serve it as a more substantial main course, double the amount of salad ingredients and serve alongside 4 crispy skinned duck confit marylands.

6 small pickling onions, skins on
rock salt
2T tarragon vinegar
4T extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
3 eschallots (or one very small red onion), finely sliced
1 red d’anjou pear (or beurre bosc)
5 sprigs continental (flat leaf) parsley, leaved picked and torn
1 leg duck confit, meat roughly shredded

Preheat oven to 200C. Place a bed of salt on a baking tray and stand onions root end down in the salt and bake 30-40mins or until onions are very soft.  Allow to cool then peel and halve onions and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter over the thyme. Allow to stand until ready to serve.

Combine eschallots and vinegar and season with s&p. Allow to stand for at least 30mins or longer.

When ready to serve, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Finely slice pear into wafer thin slices using a mandolin if you have one or a sharp knife and a steady hand. Toss pear in with the onions and add vinegar and eshallots.

Fry duck pieces over a high heat until browned and crispy. Toss parsley leaves through salad and divide between 4 plates. Top with duck pieces and serve immediately with a good pinot.

once roasted duck – a work in progress

twice roasted duck legs with wilted radicchio and balsamic glaze
serves 4

The thing I love about this recipe is that richness of the duck is offset by the bitterness of the radicchio and acid in the balsamic glaze. It was adapted from a Karen Martini recipe in the Sunday Life supplement to the Sun Herald.

Balsamic glase is a thick syrupy version of balsamic vinegar that is now available in most supermarkets. You could substitute with a mix of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and omit the red wine vinegar.

4 duck marylands
1t chinese five spice
1t sea salt
1t freshly ground black pepper
2T olive oil
2 treviso radicchio, outer leaves removed and quartered lengthwise
1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
1T olive oil.
5T balsamic glaze
3T red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 220C. Pat duck dry with paper towel. Combine spice, s&p and oil and rub the paste over all of the duck. Place duck on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30mins. Turn heat down to 200C and continue to bake for 20mins. Allow duck to rest for at least half an hour.  Reserve the duck fat in the bottom of the roasting pan for cooking the jerusalem artichokes.

Return heat to 220C and bake duck for a second time for approx 15mins, until skin is deeply golden and crispy.  Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and add oil and onion. Stir for a minute or so and then add radicchio quarters and toss for a few minutes. Add balsamic glaze and vinegar and continue to cook, stirring until radicchio is just wilted and sauce is hot.

Divide radicchio between 4 warmed plates and drizzle the vinegary sauce over the radicchio. Place a duck leg beside the radiccio and serve with roasted jerusalem artichokes passed separately.

jerusalem artichokes roasted in duck fat
serves 4 as a side dish

Roasting veg in duck fat is a decadent and tasty treat. I was originally planning on serving roast kipfler potatoes with the duck but I have to thank Rodney Dunn from Australian Gourmet Traveller for inspiring the change to jerusalem artichokes.

500g jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
3T duck fat (reserved from above)

Preheat oven to 200C. Place artichokes and fat in a roasting pan and season with s&p. Roast for approx 40mins or until artichokes are cooked through and crispy and golden on the outside.

hot raspberry souffle with rose petal cream
serves 6

This souffle make a great delicate but warming end to a meal.  If you have the cream, the raspberry jam, and the ramekins greased and sugared and prepared before hand, you can do the rest after main course and pop them in the oven.

The raspberry souffle was adapted from a Luke Mangan recipe that appeared in Good Living a few years ago.

300g raspberries (frozen are fine)
1C (210g) white sugar
6 egg whites
100g caster sugar, extra
butter for greasing
300mL double cream
4T dried rose petals
icing sugar for dusting

Combine cream and 3T rose petals and transfer to a small serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining petals on top. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the petals to infuse the cream.

Puree raspberries and then sieve into a small saucepan to remove the seeds.  Add 1C sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for approx 10mins or until the consistency is like a runny jam. Cool.

Butter six 1cup capacity ramekins and then dust with icing sugar, discarding excess.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200C. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form then add additional sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved.  Beat in cooled raspberry mixture until just combined.  Divide mixture between ramekins and level off the top. Bake for 8mins at 200C then reduce heat to 180C and bake a further 3 mins. Dust with icing sugar and serve as quickly as humanly possible with rose petal cream passed separately.


hot raspberry souffle with rose petal cream

Vic’s Meats
10 Merchant St
Mascot NSW
+61 2 9317 6900


  • I too, am a big fan of duck when eating out but I am oftem turned off cooking it myself. You have done a great job with yours! And that souffle looks amazing, you never cease to amaze me!

  • Hi Jules,

    I love these dishes. I don’t cook with duck often either, but think I might have to add some of these to my list of things to try.
    I’d also never thought of roasting jerusalem artichokes.

    Funny you should mention Vic’s Meats. I was just in touch with someone from there a while ago looking for Wagyu beef, for which they are a big supplier… But they weren’t selling it for anywhere remotely near $19/kg :) … and with cost of shipping it to WA, didn’t make it really feasible.

    Love the souffle too… you continue to impress and inspire.

  • matt & jenjen
    you should give duck a go..it’s actually quite a forgiving meat to cook because it has such a high fat content it tends to stay nice and moist..

    jerusalem artichokes are one of my favs….much sweeter and lighter than roast spuds

    I’m really loving vics….have my eye on some of their wagyu beef cheeks before the winter is out… it’s a shame they don’t supply to WA…surely someone must..

  • I have a feeling you can get it from Mondo’s (who supply a lot of restaurants over here) but I’ve never gone in to ask. The wagyu investigation started after I had a wagyu carpet bag as one course in a degustation menu recently… which was sublime. I’ll keep hunting though.

  • Don’t feel guilty about buying confit – it’s one of those things like sausages that is FAR too much trouble to make yourself. I read recently that the duck should be preserved for at least a month before it is used. Now that is what I call pre-planning a dinner party.

    Thanks for the recipes.

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