Smoked Whisky Mallard Breast

Mallards are wild ducks which are the most common duck in the Northern Hemisphere, and has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia and several South American countries. Their flesh is richer than the farmed variety and far less fatty. Cured in whisky and lightly smoked keeps the meat succulent and moist.

4 portions
Prep: 15 minutes plus 2 to 12 hours marinating
Cook: 15 minutes


  • 4 mallard breast
  • 50 ml olive oil


  • 50ml whisky
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1/3 orange
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bruised garlic cloves
  • 4 crushed juniper berries

To smoke

  • 2 tbsp jasmine rice
  • 2 tbsp green tea leaves
  • 1 piece cassia bark
  • 1 star anise

Serving suggestion

  • Poached Pear
  • 200ml pear poaching stock, boiled down to a sticky syrup (around 50ml)
  • Mixed small leaves i.e. watercress and rocket leaves
  • 80g toasted walnuts roughly chopped


Cook, to serve etc.

  1. Marinade: Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl largest enough to hold the mallard. Place the mallard in the bowl and coat in marinade.Cover and refrigerate for 2-12 hours, turning halfway through marinating.
  2. To Cook: Remove the breasts from the marinade season with a little salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate high heat. When hot add the mallard skin side down. cook for a couple of minutes so that the skin begins to colour, turn over and cook for a 2 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. To Smoke: Place the rice, green tea, aniseed and cassia bark in a smoker, cover and place over a moderate heat. When it begins to smoke place the mallard breasts on the rack in the smoker and cover. Cook over a moderate low heat for 10 minutes turning halfway through. Remove the mallard from the smoker. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. Also delicious served cold.
  4. Serving Suggestion: Slice mallard breast at an angle, with spiced poach pears, salad leaves, scatter over toasted walnuts and drizzle over reduced pear syrup.