Wild duck with winter cabbage, celeriac and roasted garlic

Michael Caines serves rich wild duck with a sweet and tart sauce - the Chinese five spice mixed with the honey adds a touch of Asian flavouring that lifts the dish into another dimension
By Michael Caines
Wild duck with winter cabbage, celeriac and roasted garlic
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Effort: hard


  • 4 x 180g duck breast, Mallard if possible
  • 2 celeriac
  • 20 cloves garlic, blanched three times and roasted
  • clear honey

For the duck sauce

  • 1 kg duck carcasses, chopped into small pieces
  • 300 ml veal stock
  • 700 ml chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, cut into thick rings
  • half ahead garlic
  • 50 ml sherry vinegar
  • 3 tsp fresh thyme
  • 50 ml cream
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 100 g clear honey

For the Savoy cabbage

  • 350 g Savoy cabbage, sliced
  • 40 g smoked back bacon
  • 20 g garlic paste
  • 1 tsp finely chopped shallots
  • salt and black pepper


1. Roast the duck carcasses lightly in the oven. Just before they finish roasting, sprinkle the bones with the chinese five spices. Remove the tray from the oven and place on top of the stove, add the onions and garlic and very lightly colour the onions, then add the thyme. Cool the bones and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock.

2. In a separate saucepan, heat the honey and bring to a rolling boil and cook for 3 minutes, but be careful not to burn the honey or the sauce will become bitter. Add the vinegar and reduce. Now add the carcasses and chicken stock to the honey and vinegar sauce, along with the veal glace/stock, peppercorns, thyme and cream.

3. Bring to the boil and skim off the scum, reduce to a simmer and cook out for 30 minutes. Strain through a colander and then pass through a fine sieve. Reduce to a sauce consistency; adjust the seasoning and the acidity.

4. Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water, then refresh in iced water. Drain well and pat dry. Sweat the finely chopped shallots in the butter, then add the smoked bacon. Add the cooked cabbage and dry out before adding the garlic puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Refrigerate the ducks well before scoring the skins. Taking a sharp knife score the fatty skin of the duck breast in a criss-cross pattern, but be careful not to cut the meat.

6. Season with salt and pepper and, using a thick, flat-bottomed pan, heat a little non-scented cooking oil and place the breasts skin side down. Cook at a fairly high temperature so that the skin renders out the fat, but be careful not to burn.

7. Once the skin is golden brown and crisp, turn the breast over and seal the other side for 1 minute before returning it once more to its skin side. Crisp the skin a little more before turning the breast onto its other side one more and finish cooking to your desired degree of doneness.

8. Once cooked remove from the pan and brush the honey and five spice over the crisp skin and leave to rest.

9. To serve, place the garlic into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, refresh in running cold water and repeat twice more. Now place the garlic into a thick bottomed pan with a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly until lightly golden. Once the garlic is golden brown and soft, add the blanched celeriac into the pan to reheat.

10. Reheat the duck in the oven for a few minutes, and then slice thinly. Place the cabbage down the middle of the plate and dress the duck on top. Place five celeriac dice and pan-roasted garlic around the outside of the duck and then sauce.

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