Match of the day - beer to go with duck

PUBLISHED: 17:28 17 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:00 18 February 2014

Ross Taylor picked Green Jack's Orange Wheat Beer to pair with Red Lion Chef Michael McMullan's Wild duck with globe artichoke purée and blood orange gel.

Ross Taylor picked Green Jack's Orange Wheat Beer to pair with Red Lion Chef Michael McMullan's Wild duck with globe artichoke purée and blood orange gel.

Ross Turner pairs an elegant classic with a surprising beer from Lowestoft

Ross Turner picked Green Jack's Orange Wheat Beer to pair with East Bergholt Kings Head Chef Michael McMullan's Wild duck with globe artichoke purée and blood orange gel.Ross Turner picked Green Jack's Orange Wheat Beer to pair with East Bergholt Kings Head Chef Michael McMullan's Wild duck with globe artichoke purée and blood orange gel.

When recently passing through one of my favourite parts of Suffolk, Dedham Vale and Flatford, I thought I would call in on a newly re-opened pub, The Kings Head at East Bergholt.

To my surprise I bumped into one of Suffolk’s top chefs, Mick McMullan, whose passion for food is as great as mine is for beer. He kindly showed me around the pub and explained his vision for the future – but I’m under strict instructions to keep quiet about it for the time being. Let me just say, I think this is going to be one of Suffolk’s top eateries in 2014. The new owners have spared no expense and have hired Mick along with an experienced team of staff.

We sat in the snug back bar in front of the fire and discussed the idea of wild duck and the best Suffolk brewery to complement it. Wild duck is completely different to the farmed variety – smaller, more gamey with a lot less fat. For farmed duck I would suggest beer styles such as Kriek or Dubbel from Belgium or Doppel Bock from Germany. As Mick is preparing the classic combination of duck and orange I wanted a beer that would complement both of these, so I contacted Greenjack brewery based in Lowestoft.

Greenjack was founded in 1993 but ceased trading in 2001. However, Tim and Lee Dunford started up again in 2003 and in 2009 relocated to larger premises in Lowestoft. They now offer at least 10 regular ales as well as seasonal beers throughout the year.

For Mick’s dish I chose award winning orange wheat beer, 4.2% abv (alcohol by volume), a fresh golden colour and with a distinct aroma of oranges. We served it in a 10oz highball, although ideally you would use a stemmed beer glass like a Gemini, in which you can swirl the beer and capture more of the wonderful aroma. A wine glass also works very well.

Wild about duck

When recently passing through one of my favourite parts of Suffolk, Dedham Vale and Flatford, I thought I would call in on a newly re-opened pub, The Kings Head at East Bergholt.

To my surprise I bumped into one of Suffolk’s top chefs, Mick McMullan, whose passion for food is as great as mine is for beer. He kindly showed me around the pub and explained his vision for the future – but I’m under strict instructions to keep quiet about it for the time being. Let me just say, I think this is going to be one of Suffolk’s top eateries in 2014. The new owners have spared no expense and have hired Mick along with an experienced team of staff.

We sat in the snug back bar in front of the fire and discussed the idea of wild duck and the best Suffolk brewery to complement it. Wild duck is completely different to the farmed variety – smaller, more gamey with a lot less fat. For farmed duck I would suggest beer styles such as Kriek or Dubbel from Belgium or Doppel Bock from Germany. As Mick is preparing the classic combination of duck and orange I wanted a beer that would complement both of these, so I contacted Greenjack brewery based in Lowestoft.

Greenjack was founded in 1993 but ceased trading in 2001. However, Tim and Lee Dunford started up again in 2003 and in 2009 relocated to larger premises in Lowestoft. They now offer at least 10 regular ales as well as seasonal beers throughout the year.

For Mick’s dish I chose award winning orange wheat beer, 4.2% abv (alcohol by volume), a fresh golden colour and with a distinct aroma of oranges. We served it in a 10oz highball, although ideally you would use a stemmed beer glass like a Gemini, in which you can swirl the beer and capture more of the wonderful aroma. A wine glass also works very well.

The beer

Once you’ve tasted the duck, try the beer – gentle at first, sweetness on the tip of the tongue followed by bitterness either side at the back of the tongue, followed by the full effect of the orange flavour.

The duck is beautiful and cooked pink, with pan seared skin which gives a light caramel flavour. This works well with the sweetness of the malt in the beer, while the bitterness of the hops and the orange flavour cut through what fat there is. Then try the duck croquet – a crunchy breadcrumb coating and soft mash potato with the confit duck legs.

The bitterness of the beer helps with the breadcrumbs and combined with the orange flavours provides the cutting power needed for the confit duck. Meanwhile, the creaminess of the potato and the sweetness of the beer work well together. This is an elegant plate of food with a well-crafted, elegant real beer which is incredibly refreshing and exactly what’s required.

The Kings Head has a wonderful array of local ale. The orange wheat beer is on draught throughout January while wild duck is on the menu. I recommend a visit if you fancy something new to try in a cosy ambience.

The Food

Mick McMullan’ s wild duck, blood orange gel and duck croquette

One wild duck, breasts and legs off – ask the butcher to do this for you. Also ask to keep the bones so you can make a duck sauce.

To cook the duck, confit the legs in duck fat in the oven at 85ºC for 20 minutes, depending on the size of the legs. Once ready take the legs out of the fat and allow to cool, setting aside for later. For the breast, bring a pan up to heat and place the duck in the pan, skin side down, allowing the fat to render down for 3-4 minutes. Drop the heat to the lowest flame possible and add a knob of butter, a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic. Baste the breast with the butter and cook to your liking. I like to keep it nice and pink.

Duck croquette

1 large banana shallot

2 large potatoes, mashed

50g breadcrumbs

Seasoning

Finley dice the shallot and cook in a little knob of butter on a low heat to soften but not colour. Place the cooked shallot, duck meat and mash in a bowl and thoroughly mix together, seasoning to taste. Roll the mixture into two cylinders and breadcrumb. Fry until golden, then finish in the oven 160ºC for eight minutes.

Blood orange gel

250ml freshly squeezed blood oranges

2g agar agar

Measure the agar into a small sauce pot. Whisk in small amount of orange juice until the agar is smooth. Add the rest of the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and set, then blitz in a food processor until smooth.

To serve

Place the duck breast on buttered curly kale, with a pull of artichoke purée, the croquette and the blood orange gel dotted behind the croquette. Garnish with artichoke crisps.

The Kings Head, East Bergholt – www.kheb.co.uk

Greenjack Brewery – www.greenjack.co.uk



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