When I went home to Sweden for Christmas, my parents gave me three wild ducks to take back with me to London. Thank you! And it worked out really well to bring them back in the suitcase. They were frozen and wrapped in plastic and newspapers and hadn’t defrosted one bit by the time I got home. So these treasures became our main course on New Year’s Eve. First I browned them all around and then I put them in the oven together with fresh thyme, juniper berries and port. The meat juices went into a simple sauce together with cream and I served Hasselback potatoes, small carrots and a chicory gratin with it.
Wild duck with port and thyme, serves 4
3 wild ducks with the breasts on the body (I didn’t use the thighs)
100 ml port
some juniper berries
Brown the ducks on all sides in butter and oil. Add salt and pepper. Pour over the port, add some juniper berries and some sprigs of thyme. Put a meat thermometer in the middle of the thickest part of the bird. Put the frying pan in the oven (make sure you use one without plastic handles) in 200C until the mat has an inner temperature of 62 degrees. Let the meat rest in tin foil while you get on with the sauce.
Carv the meat into slices before serving. I don’t know much (if anything about carving) but it seemed easiest to cut the around the breasts to loosen them from the body and then slice them up.
Creamy sauce, serves 4
the meat juices
300 ml cream
150 ml milk
maizena or other thickening granules
a splash of port
concentrated game stock
The meat juices tasted fabulous so you don’t need to add much to make a seriously nice sauce. Pour the meat juices through a sieve and into a sauce pan. Add milk, cream, maizena and bring to a boil. Season to tast with port, salt, pepper and stock.
grated gruyére cheese
Wash the chicory. Cut off the stems. Put in a pan and cover with water for 1 hour to remove the bitter taste. Drain. Put back in the pan and cover with cream. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat until soft. Pour this into an oven dish. Add salt, pepper and cheese. Bake in 200C until golden brown on the top.