Friday, 26 April 2019

Perfect duck dishes at home with Gressingham Bistro (review)

Since Madhouse Daddy died last year, I've found myself vastly reducing my repertoire of dishes that I cook. While we regularly used to tuck into homemade curries, exotic dishes and meats like roast beef, veal and duck, I instantly know that the kids will turn up their noses and push it around their plates before leaving it on the side. This wastes my time cooking it and also the money for buying it, so I've reduced the weekly fayre to "simple" ingredients, such as chicken, pork and mince. I do miss the occasional bit of fine dining though, so I was very happy to receive some delicious ready-prepared duck dishes from the Gressingham Bistro range to try out.

Their Duck Breasts in Plum come in a Cantonese style Plum Sauce and you just need to oven cook it for half an hour - you can't get simpler than that !

As is often the case, I used up some leftover Chinese noodles with vegetables that were used in a separate dish, which perfectly accompanied the meat. The half hour cooking time was perfect, as it gave me the time to rustle up something for the kids (I didn't complicate things - they had chicken stir fry with the same noodles) and everyone sat down to eat together. The meat was perfectly cooked with a delicious fruity sauce - I was amazed at how simple it was to prepare, so you definitely don't need to be an expert.

 The next week, I decided to try the second dish, which I'd popped in the freezer. Again, it was simple to prepare - I just defrosted it the night before and it was ready to prepare when I got in from work. This time, it was Duck With Orange & Maple - a delicious twist on the classic Duck à l'Orange that I'd eaten in the past with Madhouse Daddy. This pack is ever so slightly more complex as the sauce comes in a separate sachet that needs to be added towards the end of the cooking time. Again, it was very simple though - just empty the two duck legs into the roasting tray, pop it in the oven and come back half an hour later to finish things off.

This was absolutely delicious alongside some leftover mashed potato and mixed veg (peas, carrots and sweetcorn). If you've ever been put off trying duck because you think it's complicated to prepare, these dishes are absolutely perfect as there is literally nothing to do besides putting them in the oven.

If you fancy trying something a little more exotic, Gressingham sent over a couple of delicious sounding recipes that you might like to try.

Duck Breast with Orange Sauce, Braised Lentils and Tenderstem Broccoli

Serves: 2

2 Gressingham duck breasts
220g tenderstem broccoli
2 cups of dried lentils
950ml of vegetable stock
Olive oil
For the sauce:
Zest and juice of 1 one large orange or two small oranges
150ml of pineapple juice
½ a chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp of white sugar
1 tsp of cornflour mixed with water to make a paste
4 orange segments
1 tbsp of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C, Fan 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

2. Cook the orange sauce by placing the oranges, pineapple juice, chilli and sugar in a sauce pan, bring to the boil and reduce by a third. Stir in the corn flour, simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Mix in the parsley and place to one side ready to reheat when the duck is cooked.

3. Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lentils and stir for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until lentils are just tender, stirring occasionally for about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. When the lentils have been cooking for 10 minutes, score the skin on each duck breast and pat dry with absorbent paper. Season the meat and skin with salt and place into a frying pan skin side down on a medium heat with no oil for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Pour off the fat regularly and seal the other side for 1 minute.

5. Place the duck breasts skin side up on a rack in a roasting tin in the middle of the preheated oven. Cook for 15-18 minutes depending on how you like your duck cooked.

6. When the duck is cooked to your liking rest the meat in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before serving.

7. Add your broccoli to the steamer and cook for 10 minutes. Once everything is ready and the duck breasts have been left to rest, carve the duck and then add the lentils to the plate, followed by the tenderstem broccoli, sliced duck and tangy orange sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Duck Legs with Blackberry and port sauce

Serves: 2
2 Gressingham duck legs
3 large roasting potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 shallots
200g kale
For the sauce:
350ml of port
2 tsps of white sugar
1 punnet of blackberries
400ml of chicken stock or water
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
50g butter
1 tsp of corn flour (mixed with a little water to form a paste)
1 x star anise

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, Fan 160°C, Gas Mark 4.

2. Pat the skin of the duck leg with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture and prick the skin of the leg all over. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place on a wire rack on a roasting tray and cook in the middle of the oven for 90 minutes.

4. While the duck is cooking place the potatoes and shallots in a roasting tray, drizzle over the olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 50 minutes.

5. While the duck and potatoes are cooking prepare the sauce by pouring the port into a pan, heat until the liquid is reduced by half (this will take 10 -15 minutes).

6. Add in the stock or water, the blackberries, vinegar, star anise, sugar and reduce by 2/3 (this will take around 15 minutes).

7. Pass through a sieve into another pan, stir in the cornflour, season and simmer for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Mix in the butter.

8. Place the kale in a steamer cover and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

9. Remove the duck and potatoes from the oven and the kale from the steamer and arrange on plates or in a large serving. Drizzle the sauce over the top. Enjoy.

(If you're eating on your lonesome, don't despair - the leftovers heat up absolutely perfectly the next day !)

I remember the first few times that I cooked with duck, I was nervous about cooking times and preparing the meat, in which case the ready-to-cook dishes are perfect. Once you've discovered how lovely it is though, you may want to try out your own dishes, in which case you might like to try some of the recipes I've tried : Duck breast with baharat and pomegranate molasses, Peking duck with noodles, or how about Singaporean Teochew Duck Rice or Teriyaki Duck with Soba Noodles ?

If you head over to the Gressingham Duck website, you can request a recipe booklet and even try your luck in their giveaway to win a duck hamper.

Have you already eaten duck? Do you have a favourite duck dish to share ?

Disclosure : I received the Gressingham duck dishes in order to share my honest review.


  1. Blackberry and port sauce will be great with duck. My guys are not keen on duck so I don't cook it much, they also much prefer chicken and sausages.

    1. Same here - I have one more dish to create, with plain dick. Hmmm decisions decisions !

  2. I do like duck but haven't had it any other way than Chinese crispy duck pancakes for years. I shall have to get some.

  3. I must try these. I haven’t had much luck at cooking duck.


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