Poached and roast teal, grilled plums, miso roast cabbage and spiced plum sauce

“This is my go-to technique for cooking feathered game. The lean meat benefits from a gentle poach in heavily salted water to deliver even cooking without removing too much moisture. Once dry, frying quickly in a hot pan delivers the savoury notes needed to really make the most of this exceptional bird. I’ve served the teal with seasonal fruit and Asian flavours, but a simple sauce and classic garnishes works just as well. For other birds, increase the poaching time in line with carcass size, up to about 3 minutes for a mallard.”

Photo Credit – Emily Graham Media

Ant Brown - Chef

2 whole teal, oven ready
2tbs vegetable oil
A good knob of butter
1 fresh plum, stone removed and sliced into 6 wedges
½ a pointed cabbage (sweetheart or hispi) cut lengthways into 2 wedges with the thickest part of the core removed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
50g butter
1tbs white miso paste

Plum sauce
50g butter
1 banana shallot, peeled & sliced
½ red chilli deseeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger, scraped with a spoon to remove the skin & grated
3 plums, stone removed & chopped
100g caster sugar
50ml sloe gin
100ml red wine vinegar
500ml good chicken stock
500ml veal or beef stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 star anise


Serves 2

To make the sauce, heat the butter in a wide saucepan over a medium heat until foaming, add the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the plums. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the plums soften and the mix is slightly caramelised.

Add the sugar and cook for 2 minutes to further caramelise, then deglaze the pan adding the sloe gin and red wine vinegar. Once the vinegar has evaporated add the two stocks, the thyme and the star anise, stir well to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan and then reduce by 2/3rds over a medium-high heat. Allow the sauce to cool, remove the thyme and star anise, place in a blender and blend until smooth. Set the sauce aside.

For the cabbage, heat the oil in frying pan until shimmering but not smoking. Carefully place the cabbage into the pan, cut side down. Allow the cabbage to cook for about 4 minutes , gaining plenty of colour – this can happen quickly so keep an eye on it. Turn the cabbage and repeat. Turn down the heat, add the butter and cover the cabbage – a lid smaller than the pan or a metal bowl that fits within the pan would work well. The aim is steam the cabbage whilst also having the butter foaming – a tricky balance, but worth the effort. Continue to cook the cabbage over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat, then brush the cabbage with a thin layer of miso paste and set aside.

Preheat a griddle pan for 5 minutes, then add the plum wedges, allowing the griddle marks to develop without overcooking the fruit. Turn and repeat the process on the other side, then set aside.

For the teal, bring a large pan of water to the boil with 100g of table salt. Place the teal in the pan and immediately take off the heat. Allow the teal to poach for 1½ minutes, then remove, draining any water from the cavity, and allow to steam dry for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan until shimmering, dry the teal thoroughly, season with salt and add to the pan with one thigh side down. Cook for 2 minutes, then repeat on the other thigh side, finally place the birds breast side down, getting plenty of colour on the skin for 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, add the butter and then baste the birds, breast side up, for a further minute or so. Remove the birds and rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with tin foil.

Remove the legs from the birds, then carefully carve the breasts from the carcass and place on a warm tray. Gently reheat the sauce and cabbage and glaze the plum segments with a little of the sauce. Place the cabbage on a warm plate, add the teal breasts and legs, and garnish with the plum segments. Finish with the sauce and serve with buttered seasonal vegetables, such as anise roasted carrots and cavolo nero.