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Duo of Gressingham Duck - The Royal College of Surgeons

When VIPs at the Royal College of Surgeons requested a late lunch with a bit of ‘wow’, Head Chef Leon Papworth know exactly what to do. With an astoundingly swift turnaround, he produced a beautiful duo of duck dish which definitely impressed.

At Ampersand, we pride ourselves on bringing the best local produce from the farm to the kitchen, promising a bounty of beautiful, fresh flavours to the table for all our guests to enjoy. This dish was a prime example of promise and couldn’t be possible without our excellent suppliers and highly creative chefs.

The dish boasts both confit leg and pan-seared supreme of duck. Leon added a pressed potato and spinach gateau, roasted carrot shards, red cabbage jam balls and spinach with blackberries to complement the duck. Leon used celeriac and vanilla purée to give the dish some contrast, and a green bean bundle and confit of shallots was the final touch.

Over to Leon for the recipe!

Duck leg confit

Serves 6

6 duck legs

150grams coarse sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 head garlic

4 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

700 grams duck fat

2 duck breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon olive oil

The Gateau

1 tray wild mushrooms

250gram butter

250ml double cream

5 kilo thinly sliced potatoes

500 gram baby spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

To garnish

½ bag peas

1 head cauliflower

500 grams beetroot

1 red cabbage

500 grams baby spinach

1 leek

250 gram green beans

250 gram baby onions


Firstly I slowly confit the duck legs in duck fat, a little oil and lemon, and bay leaf in an oven at 150°C for approximately three hours. I then trimmed the duck leg for presentation, saving the rest for a confit on a canapé menu.

I created a pea purée using about half a litre of vegetable stock, brought to the boil, then adding a third of a large bag of peas. I blitzed the peas in a bar blender adding a little spinach to retain the colour, and passed in through a fine sieve.

I then made cauliflower and beetroot purées for the dish, using the same method as above but pre roasting the beets and blanching the cauliflower in milk and vegetable stock.

For the vegetables I chose caramelised red cabbage and blanched spinach. When cold these are easily moulded into balls. The onions were simply tossed in a pan with butter and oil and left to naturally caramelise. I also made a green bean bundle held together with blanched leek.

I make the gateau to complement a number of dishes. For this I take thinly sliced potatoes, cooked wild mushrooms and spinach, double cream, garlic and seasoning. I line a baking tray with parchment paper I have brushed lightly with melted butter, then add potatoes, spinach, mushrooms in layers, then cover lightly with cream. This process is repeated until the dish is full to the top. Although this can seem laborious it is worth it for the end result.

I placed the gateau in a fan oven, around 180°C, for 90 minutes. Once cooked I chilled, pressed and cut it into the desired shape.

The final stage was the seared duck breast. This was simply pan roasted and cut in half. Then I deglazed the pan with some beef jus for the sauce, which I drizzled over the plate. Although the dish took some time preparing, it was an absolute pleasure and even better when it was so well received!

Burns Night at RCS
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