Friday, January 1, 2010

#215 Mallard

As mentioned, the freezer is being emptied of its long-sequestered goodies. First up is this roast mallard. I also found a couple of Seville oranges in there too so I thought I’d do a classic orange sauce too (see the next post, when I get round to writing it!).

I had never tried mallard before but I love duck so I was looking forward to this, I have to say. I took them out of the freezer and allowed them to defrost overnight. On preparing them I found that they smelt pretty – er – ripe, which was a wee bit concerning, but I continued. The instructions are very straight forward if you want to tackle roast mallard: inside the bird, put in some butter, seasoning and herbs; outside, season with salt and pepper. You don’t need any butter or back fat to protect the birds as they have a layer of fat anyway. According to Jane, they should be roasted rare, so they only require 30 minutes at 200⁰C. When ready, allow to rest for fifteen minutes, carve and serve. I did game chips (see the entry on roast pheasant) and Savoy cabbage along with an orange sauce as suggested by the lady herself. You could make a gravy from the juices and a spoonful of bitter marmalade or an orange salad.

The fowl stench of death


#215 Mallard. These birds were definitely over-hung. They smelt and tasted of death and had gone well past the gamey stage. As I have frame of reference, I’m not sure if they naturally taste like that anyway. I doubt it though. Char and Clive seemed to find this okay, but it was rather too much for me and I couldn’t face a leg. That said, the hanging made the meat very tender and succulent. The next day the kitchen smelt like dead and rotting animals. 3.5/10.

FYI: the hanging of meat – in particular game – is required for the meat to become tender and tasty. Whether it is 28 days for beef, or just 2 to 3 days for small game. Pheasant, for example, is tough and pretty tasteless before hanging. However, people cross the line between well-hung and rotten. Brillat-Savarin – the Eighteenth century gastronome and lawyer – didn’t consider pheasant to be fit for consumption until it was “in a state of complete purification”, according to Larousse Gastronomique.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooh, these were tasty. Stank to high heaven I won't deny, but tasted rather nice. Not one if you're not big on game (but as Neil has said, that's down to the length of time these were left to hang for, they were pretty high!), but I really quite enjoyed them, The combo with the sauce was ace.
7/10
Char

Anonymous said...

"According to Larousse Gastronomique
----"

I think Brillat Savarin said
'complete putrifaction', not
purication?

Neil B said...

Typo!