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Crispy duck with rye pancakes

Main Weekend project
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter
Prep 30 min
Cook 2 hr 10 min

Think of this as a British Peking duck, and eat it as you would in a Chinese restaurant, stuffing the shredded duck, sauce, spring onions and cucumbers inside the warm pancakes. It’s a messy business, but that’s all part of the fun. Use shop-bought pancakes, if need be, but if you do make your own, you can do so well in advance and warm them through in the oven before serving.


¾ tsp juniper berries
¾ tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce, plus 1½ tsp extra, to serve
3 tbsp golden syrup
2 duck legs, skin patted very dry
250g ready-cooked and peeled beetroot (ie, 1 pack), each cut into 8 wedges
2 pink lady apples, cored and cut into eight wedges (250g net weight)
3 small banana shallots, peeled and cut in half (60g net weight)
1½ tbsp sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly bashed with the flat of a knife
200ml dry white wine
2-3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced into 6cm-long strips (40g net weight)
¼ large cucumber, seeds and core scooped out, flesh cut into 6cm x ½cm batons (60g net weight)
80g dark rye flour
70g plain flour
1 large egg
220ml full-fat milk
⅔ tsp salt
olive oil, for frying


  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F. Blitz the juniper and peppercorns in a spice grinder until you have a fine powder (or finely crush them in a mortar). Transfer to a bowl and add the Worcestershire sauce, golden syrup and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt. Prick the skin of each duck leg about 20 times with a skewer, then add them to the bowl and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes (or put the bowl in the fridge overnight).
  2. Mix the beetroot, apples, shallots, sage and garlic in a 24cm ovenproof saute pan with a good pinch of salt. Pour in the wine and 75ml water, then lay in the duck legs skin side up, along with all their marinade, taking care not to get any on the skin, then use kitchen towel to pat the exposed skin dry. Roast for an hour and 25 minutes, rotating the pan and basting the contents once halfway, until the duck is cooked and the skin crisp. Transfer the legs to a board to rest for 15 minutes; crush the beetroot and apple into the sauce a little, and keep warm.
  3. While the duck is resting, make the pancakes. Whisk the flours, egg, milk and salt until smooth, then set aside for five minutes. Put half a teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, then add 40-45g batter, swirling the pan to form a 12cm-wide pancake. Fry for one to two minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom, then flip and fry for 30-60 seconds, until browned on the other side – you may need to lower the heat to medium if the pan gets too hot. Repeat until you have eight pancakes – the batter mix is enough for 11 pancakes, but the first few attempts aren’t usually the best.
  4. Arrange the duck legs on a platter with the spring onions, cucumber and pancakes alongside. Tip the warm fruit and vegetables, and any liquid from the pan, into a bowl and stir in the remaining teaspoon and a half of Worcestershire sauce. Shred the meat off the duck legs at the table, or just before you serve, finishing them off with a little salt and some of the liquid from the fruit and vegetable sauce.