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Duck, Bubble & Squeak

Category

Usually made with the leftovers from a Sunday roast but the concept of soft duck, mashed potato and greens fried to crisp perfection was just too hard to resist. Of course if you happen to have these leftovers hanging around then by all means go for it. We are guessing not, so here's how to do it from scratch. The poached egg on the top is utterly non-negotiable; the runny yolk bathes the ingredients in creamy loveliness and a hen's egg just doesn't quite cut it; sorry hens.

10 Minutes
Yields2 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time1 hr
 2 Duck Breasts
 3 Large Potatoes (about 500g - floury, suitable for mash; Roosters are good)
 ¼ Head Savoy Cabbage
 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley - Chopped
 Flaked Sea Salt
 Freshly Ground Black Pepper
 Vinegar (for the poaching water)
 2 Duck Eggs
1

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

2

Prick the duck breasts all over with a skewer. You could use a fork if you wish, but it isn't as sharp and is more likely to damage the meat. Why do we do this? So that the fat can render down and into the tin more easily. You want a tray with as much fat as possible and a crisp layer on the duck. That duck fat will be used to cook the bubble and squeak.

3

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and then put them on a small roasting tray. Pop them into the oven for 25 minutes. Ovens can vary in their accuracy so keep an eye that it doesn't burn. You don't want pink meat; we are looking for well done soft flesh and a dark layer of crisp fat.

4

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a pan of salted water to boil.

5

When the potatoes are cooked, drain through a colander, place the colander back over the pan, and cover the potatoes with a double layer of kitchen roll. Why? Because moisture is the worst thing that can happen to mashed potatoes; they need to be as dry as possible. The paper absorbs the moisture and helps dry the potato out. If the potatoes aren't floury enough then there is not much that you can do to save it. We use King Edwards, Roosters, or Maris Piper in that order. All very boring and mass-produced but at least you can rely on a consistent result.

6

When the duck is ready, remove from the oven and set aside to have a little rest. At an appropriate break in the proceedings, slice it finely and pour the fat into a little bowl.

7

Whilst all of this is happening, put the cabbage on to cook. Boiling is not the enemy of cabbage; over boiling it is. Most vegetables are perfectly happy in a pan of boiling salted water. Just don't leave them in for too long and you will be fine.

8

Put the shredded cabbage in a pan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Add a good pinch of salt and cook for 6 minutes. Drain, refresh with cold water until cool and set aside. Why refresh it? To stop it cooking further in the residual heat and becoming soggy.

9

You now have all of your components. Fill a medium pan with water, add a good slosh of vinegar, and set it over medium heat to come to the boil. We will come back to that vinegar in a mo.

10

Mash the potatoes with a decent masher, but add nothing. Don't wait until they go cold or you will get lumps. If they have gone cold, heat them in the microwave BEFORE attempting to mash. When you have a lovely fluffy mass of potato, fold in the cabbage and the duck pieces. Don't mix it together to form a big lump; fold it through gently so the potato remains as fluffy as it can. Think hash not mash.

11

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the duck fat. Theoretically, you should have a good few tablespoons of creamy coloured duck fat from the oven. If what you actually have is dark brown and full of black bits then you will need to cheat. Use commercial goose fat, lard, or dripping. Failing that, then use oil. Get it good and hot.

12

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, in sort of rough rounds like tennis balls (perhaps a bit smaller). Once all in, squash them down with a fish slice.

13

The next bit is highly unscientific and very much a matter of doing the best you can. Remember hash not mash; the more disastrous it looks the better it will be. Turn them over every so often, for a total of about 15 minutes. It matters not if they fall apart, just push them back into shape and keep forming that crust.

14

When ready (the longer you keep going, the better that crust will be) remove the pan from the heat and turn your attention to the eggs.

15

The pan should be boiling nicely. Remember the vinegar? It helps to set the white, so it stays surrounding the yolk and not feathering through the water. Crack each egg into a cup first. This ensures you won't get the shell, that your yolk is intact, and helps guide the egg into the water in some kind of acceptable shape.

16

Drop each egg down the side of the pan into the simmering water. Push any runaway white around the yolk and then remove from the heat. Put a lid on and leave it alone for 2 minutes.

17

When you lift the lid you should have 2 set whites and 2 very runny yolks; hopefully in pairs that look like eggs. Duck eggs are far easier to poach than hen's eggs; sorry again hens.

18

Divide the bubble and squeak between 2 plates and carefully lift each egg from the water. Use a slotted spoon and drain for as long as you can without the yolk breaking. Place on top of the bubble and squeak, scatter over the parsley and dig in whilst it is hot.

Ingredients

 2 Duck Breasts
 3 Large Potatoes (about 500g - floury, suitable for mash; Roosters are good)
 ¼ Head Savoy Cabbage
 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley - Chopped
 Flaked Sea Salt
 Freshly Ground Black Pepper
 Vinegar (for the poaching water)
 2 Duck Eggs

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

2

Prick the duck breasts all over with a skewer. You could use a fork if you wish, but it isn't as sharp and is more likely to damage the meat. Why do we do this? So that the fat can render down and into the tin more easily. You want a tray with as much fat as possible and a crisp layer on the duck. That duck fat will be used to cook the bubble and squeak.

3

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and then put them on a small roasting tray. Pop them into the oven for 25 minutes. Ovens can vary in their accuracy so keep an eye that it doesn't burn. You don't want pink meat; we are looking for well done soft flesh and a dark layer of crisp fat.

4

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a pan of salted water to boil.

5

When the potatoes are cooked, drain through a colander, place the colander back over the pan, and cover the potatoes with a double layer of kitchen roll. Why? Because moisture is the worst thing that can happen to mashed potatoes; they need to be as dry as possible. The paper absorbs the moisture and helps dry the potato out. If the potatoes aren't floury enough then there is not much that you can do to save it. We use King Edwards, Roosters, or Maris Piper in that order. All very boring and mass-produced but at least you can rely on a consistent result.

6

When the duck is ready, remove from the oven and set aside to have a little rest. At an appropriate break in the proceedings, slice it finely and pour the fat into a little bowl.

7

Whilst all of this is happening, put the cabbage on to cook. Boiling is not the enemy of cabbage; over boiling it is. Most vegetables are perfectly happy in a pan of boiling salted water. Just don't leave them in for too long and you will be fine.

8

Put the shredded cabbage in a pan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Add a good pinch of salt and cook for 6 minutes. Drain, refresh with cold water until cool and set aside. Why refresh it? To stop it cooking further in the residual heat and becoming soggy.

9

You now have all of your components. Fill a medium pan with water, add a good slosh of vinegar, and set it over medium heat to come to the boil. We will come back to that vinegar in a mo.

10

Mash the potatoes with a decent masher, but add nothing. Don't wait until they go cold or you will get lumps. If they have gone cold, heat them in the microwave BEFORE attempting to mash. When you have a lovely fluffy mass of potato, fold in the cabbage and the duck pieces. Don't mix it together to form a big lump; fold it through gently so the potato remains as fluffy as it can. Think hash not mash.

11

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the duck fat. Theoretically, you should have a good few tablespoons of creamy coloured duck fat from the oven. If what you actually have is dark brown and full of black bits then you will need to cheat. Use commercial goose fat, lard, or dripping. Failing that, then use oil. Get it good and hot.

12

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, in sort of rough rounds like tennis balls (perhaps a bit smaller). Once all in, squash them down with a fish slice.

13

The next bit is highly unscientific and very much a matter of doing the best you can. Remember hash not mash; the more disastrous it looks the better it will be. Turn them over every so often, for a total of about 15 minutes. It matters not if they fall apart, just push them back into shape and keep forming that crust.

14

When ready (the longer you keep going, the better that crust will be) remove the pan from the heat and turn your attention to the eggs.

15

The pan should be boiling nicely. Remember the vinegar? It helps to set the white, so it stays surrounding the yolk and not feathering through the water. Crack each egg into a cup first. This ensures you won't get the shell, that your yolk is intact, and helps guide the egg into the water in some kind of acceptable shape.

16

Drop each egg down the side of the pan into the simmering water. Push any runaway white around the yolk and then remove from the heat. Put a lid on and leave it alone for 2 minutes.

17

When you lift the lid you should have 2 set whites and 2 very runny yolks; hopefully in pairs that look like eggs. Duck eggs are far easier to poach than hen's eggs; sorry again hens.

18

Divide the bubble and squeak between 2 plates and carefully lift each egg from the water. Use a slotted spoon and drain for as long as you can without the yolk breaking. Place on top of the bubble and squeak, scatter over the parsley and dig in whilst it is hot.

Duck, Bubble & Squeak