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Duck and Peas

Classic Meals

Duck joints in gravy, with green peas (Mrs.B, Soyer 1845, etc).

"Duck and Peas is Off"
by John Edward Goodall
Image: John Robertson Fine Paintings

This dish appears regularly in literature of the 19th Century, and seems to have been so commonplace that Francis Miltoun in his "Dickens' London" of 1908 could comically refer to Duck and Peas as being as unconventional as "Beans and Bacon" or "Beef and Yorkshire".

(from A Poetical Cook-Book, by Maria J. Moss)
I give thee all my kitchen lore,
Though poor the offering be;
I’ll tell thee how ’tis cooked, before
You come to dine with me.
The duck is truss’d from head to heels,
Then stew’d with butter well,
And streaky bacon, which reveals
A most delicious smell.

When duck and bacon, in a mass,
You in a stewpan lay,
A spoon around the vessel pass,
And gently stir away;
A tablespoonful of flour bring,
A quart of water plain,
Then in it twenty onions fling,
And gently stir again.

A bunch of parsley, and a leaf
Of ever verdant bay,
Two cloves,-I make my language brief,-
Then add your peas you may;
And let it simmer till it sings
In a delicious strain;
Then take your duck, nor let the strings
For trussing it remain.

The parsley fail not to remove,
Also the leaf of bay;
Dish up your duck, - the sauce improve
In the accustom’d way,
With pepper, salt, and other things
I need not here explain;
And if the dish contentment brings,
You’ll dine with me again.

Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy' by Hannah Glasse, 1747 (Glasse 1747);

To dress a Duck with Green Peas.

PUT a deep stew-pan over the fire, with a piece of best butter; singe your duck and flour it, turn it in the pan two or three minutes; then pour out all the fat, but let the duck remain in the pan; put to it a pint of good gravy, a pint of peas, two lettuces cut small, a small bundle of sweet herbs, a little pepper and salt; cover them close, and let them stew for half an hour; now and then give the pan a shake when they are just done, grate in a little nutmeg, and put in a very little beaten mace, and thicken it either with a piece of butter rolled in flour or the yolk of an egg beat up with two or three spoon fulls of cream; shake it all together for three or four minutes, take out the sweet herbs, lay the duck in the dish, and pour the sauce over it. You may garnish with boiled mint or let it alone

Original Receipt in 'The Book of Household Management', 1861, edited by Isabella Beeton (See Mrs.B)

STEWED DUCK AND PEAS (Cold Meat Cookery).
935. INGREDIENTS: The remains of cold roast duck, 2 oz. of butter, 3 or 4 slices of lean ham or bacon, 1 tablespoonful of flour, 2 pints of thin gravy, 1, or a small bunch of green onions, 3 sprigs of parsley, 3 cloves, 1 pint of young green peas, cayenne and salt to taste, 1 teaspoonful of pounded sugar.
Mode: Put the butter into a stewpan; cut up the duck into joints, lay them in with the slices of lean ham or bacon; make it brown, then dredge in a tablespoonful of flour, and stir this well in before adding the gravy. Put in the onion, parsley, cloves, and gravy, and when it has simmered for 1/4 hour, add a pint of young green peas, and stew gently for about1/2 hour. Season with cayenne, salt, and sugar; take out the duck, place it round the dish, and the peas in the middle.
Time: 3/4 hour.
Average cost: exclusive of the cold duck, 1s.
Seasonable: from June to August.

STEWED DUCK AND PEAS (Cold Meat Cookery).
936. INGREDIENTS: The remains of cold roast duck,1/2 pint of good gravy, cayenne and salt to taste,1/2 teaspoonful of minced lemon-peel, 1 teaspoonful of pounded sugar, 2 oz, of butter rolled in flour, 1-1/2 pint of green peas.
Mode: Cut up the duck into joints, lay it in the gravy, and add a seasoning of cayenne, salt, and minced lemon-peel; let tins gradually warm through, but not boil. Throw the peas into boiling water slightly salted, and boil them rapidly until tender. Drain them, stir in the pounded sugar, and the butter rolled in flour; shake them over the fire for two or three minutes, and serve in the centre of the dish, with the duck laid round.
Time: 15 minutes to boil the peas, when they are full grown.
Average cost: exclusive of the cold duck, 10d.
Seasonable: from June to August.

22 June 1915 - Midwinter dinner of Duck and Peas on the 'Endurance' during the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition

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