Roasted Breast of Mallard, Crispy Leg, Pumpkin Soup & Roast Chestnuts

by Robert Thompson​​​​​​​

Main Challenging ​​​​​​​ 4 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 5 hours 30 minutes, plus 12 hours chilling


1 mallard

10g of rock salt

500g of goose fat

1 egg, beaten

100g of plain flour

100ml of olive oil

1 handful of Panko breadcrumbs


black pepper

500g of organic pumpkin, cut into large chunks

1 bunch of thyme

500ml of chicken stock

75g of unsalted butter, diced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

200g of chestnuts, peeled

100ml of chicken stock

50ml of double cream

1 orange, segmented and juice reserved

10g of unsalted butter

5g of brown sugar

10g of baking powder

150g of plain flour

2 tbsp of sage leaves

2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds, toasted

ice cold water

100g of cornflour

vegetable oil


1. Remove the legs from the mallard by cutting through the joint. Put in a dish, sprinkle with salt, cover and chill for 12 hours. Clean the rest of the bird and carefully remove the wishbone

2. Rinse and dry the legs and put in an oven dish into which they fit snugly

3. Heat the oven to 140°C/Gas mark 1. Melt the goose fat in a pan and then pour it over the legs

4. Cook in a covered pan for 2 ½ hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Discard the skin and remove all the meat from the confit legs

5. Shred the meat and season lightly. Layer the meat into a small tray to about 1cm thick, then chill until firm

6. For the soup, heat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5

7. Put the chopped pumpkin, thyme and butter in a foil parcel. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft

8. Sweat the onion in a little oil until soft, then add the roasted pumpkin flesh and stock. Bring to the boil then blend until completely smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and adjust the seasoning

9. For the chestnut purée, caramelise the orange segments with the butter and sugar in a pan, being careful not to burn the sugar, then add the orange juice, peeled chestnuts and stock

10. Bring to the boil and then blend until smooth. Slowly add the cream. Pass through a fine sieve and adjust the seasoning

11. For the mallard, heat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6

12. Season the mallard crown and then seal in a hot pan in 1 tablespoon of oil. Roast for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the bird and how well you like it cooked. Allow to rest

13. Cut the confit meat into 1cm cubes and then dust with the flour, dip in the egg and coat with the breadcrumbs

14. Carve off the mallard breasts once roasted, slicing each breast evenly. Shallow-fry the leg meat cubes until golden all over

15. Mix the corn flour, plain flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Gently add the ice cold water, stirring gently until it forms a tempura batter

16. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer. Dip the sage leaves in the tempura batter and fry until the batter sets on the leaves. Drain on kitchen paper

17. Spoon a little chestnut purée onto each plate, add some mallard cubes and the mallard breast, top with some pumpkin seeds and deep-fried sage leaves

18. Pour the pumpkin soup around the meat to serve