Wild Mallard Roasted with Rosehip Syrup and Chilli

Last weekend at the East Midlands Food Fair held annually at Melton Mowbray. I was really excited to see a game stall ,Shaw Meats you cannot get more autumnal than seasonal game , pheasants, partridge not to mention, rabbits & hares.  I especially like wild duck available in season from September to January to protect breeding stocks. Mallard  has a rich gamey flavour and visibly  less fat than the farmed duck. Of course this means no extra duck fat for roasting potatoes but a delicious bird.

I really like to cook things together which come into season together, if you have walked up and down any hedges this time of year you see crimson sprays of rosehips.  I make rosehip syrup every year, one of my first ever posts back in 2006 was about rosehip syrup. it’s a way of harnessing the ruby goodness for the whole year , with a sweet and sour taste.

Though Rosehip syrup is lovely in sweet dishes like apple pies and rose-scented cakes . It also has a sweet- sour taste in common with pomegranate mollasses makes it perfect for fatty meats, like lamb, pork and duck. After roasting the juices reduce to make a lip smackingly  fruity, sweet salty and just a little fiery.

Rosehip by you.

Rosehip Syrup Recipe

400g of rosehips
1 pint of water
100g of sugar
1/2 tsp of citric acid ( squeeze of lemon)

  1. Trim the tops and bottoms from the rosehips
  2. Simmer the rosehips in the water for 15 minutes, mash and return to a simmer for a further 15 minutes
  3. Strain through muslin to remove the fruit pulp
  4. Stir in the sugar and warm over a gentle heat
  5. Pour into sterilised jars/bottles

This syrup will keep for 3 months or so.

Wild Mallard Roasted with Rosehip Syrup and Chilli

Per Mallard Duck ( One duck serves one  hungry person )
100ml of Rosehip Syrup
1 tbsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Season the mallard with salt ,  chilli flakes and 1/4 of the rosehip syrup.
  3. Place in a baking tray and  and roast for 10 mins. Pour over another 1/4 of the rosehip syrup.
  4. Turn the oven down to 180°C and  cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile make the gravy remove the juices from the pan. Place the juices in a saucepan , add the remaining rosehip syrup and simmer until the sauce is reduce by half.  You could strain it if you wished. ( NB. If you are using a wild duck there should not be too much fat but with a farmed duck you will need to leave it to settle of the fat before reducing)

To serve joint the mallard by removing the breasts and legs and dress with the reduced juices

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