I was very excited to see mulberries at the market this morning. I raced home and ate some with a little fresh cream for breakfast – very naughty, I know, but a real treat. I realised they’d also be delicious in a duck sauce. Mulberries are very high in antioxidants and their rich flavour matches perfectly with duck. I threw in the tiniest but of dark chocolate to make the sauce something really special. You can use bought duck confit for this, but I make my own. I buy a whole duck at a time, and this is a great way of making the duck last longer and it’s an incredible way to eat duck, the flavour and tenderness are incomparable and it’s really very easy to prepare. I made the confit in advance and kept it in the fridge till required. With all the duck fat, it sounds like a very unhealthy dish. But in fact, cooking the duck in its own fat allows the fat in the meat to melt away. As such, the finished product is very lean, and you can save the duck fat for the next time you need it.
To cure the duck, roughly break up the bay leaves and combine with the salt and thyme. Rub this mixture all over the marylands, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I refrigerate overnight) Remove the marylands from the fridge and wash thoroughly under cold running water to remove any herbs and salt. Discard any liquid from the curing process.
To confit the duck, place your duck in a baking dish that is just large enough for them to fit. Gently melt your duck fat and pour over the top of the duck, ensuring it is just covered. Place in an oven at 100oC and forget about it for four hours. Remove the duck from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature in the fat. Remove the duck from the fat and transfer to your chosen storage container with just enough fat to cover the meat when cold.
To make the sauce, bring your duck stock to the boil with the bay leave and juniper berry and allow it to reduce by half. Add the mulberries and cook till the mulberries soften and some of their colour leeches into the stock. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a fine sieve over a bowl. Remove the bay leaf and juniper berries and press the sauce through the sieve, ensuring you get as much pulp from the berries as possible. Return the sieved sauce to the saucepan and place on a low heat. Stir in the cream. When the sauce is hot, whisk in the chocolate until it’s melted and well combined.
To cook the duck, preheat your oven to 200oC. Place the duck upside down on a lined baking tray and roast for 5 minutes before turning the duck over and baking for a further 10. The skin should be crisp and a dark golden colour.
Serve the duck with spinach sautéed in butter with a little garlic. Pour over the sauce and garnish with two fresh mulberries. Enjoy.