An exotic touch to a Scottish dish

A traditional dish with a twist is what Dr Chris Duckham serves up at his restaurant in Sutherland

We recently had a party of 10 visiting Americans in at the restaurant and as this was their first visit to the UK I thought it would be a nice touch to add one or two variations on Scottish specialities to the menu.

I had always fancied putting rumbledthumps on the menu because it has such a wonderful name. A traditional dish of cooked potato, leek, cabbage and cheese all bashed and rumbled about, we chose this to accompany the duck main course. I was a little worried as to how it would stand up once plated, but my sous chef Tim came up with the inspired idea of reheating it in a ring mould.

For this presentation you will need four 80mm stainless steel ring moulds — no serious cook should be without a set. 

Duck breast with rumbledthumps 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Firstly, score through the skin of the duck breasts and reserve at room temperature until ready to cook.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water until soft.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, sweat the shallots and leek in some olive oil until soft. Cook the cabbage in boiling water or chicken stock until tender. Drain the potatoes and mash with the butter and grated cheese. Mix in the cooked cabbage, leek and shallots and season to taste.
  5. Pour a film of olive oil onto the base of a good sized, well-seasoned or non-stick ovenproof skillet and put the four ring moulds in the pan. Fill each with the rumbledthumps mixture. Cook over a medium heat for two to three minutes, turn over and lightly cook on the other side for about a minute. Reserve until you are ready to cook the duck.
  6. To finish, sear the duck, skin side down, in an ovenproof skillet and transfer to the preheated oven. After about five minutes, place the rumbledthumps pan in the oven to reheat. After about nine minutes or so, remove the duck breasts from the oven and let rest in a warm place for another five or six minutes.
  7. Remove the ring moulds containing the rumbledthumps from the oven and place each on four warmed plates. Run a small knife around the inside of each ring and lift off. Slice the duck breasts and layer attractively on top of each of the rumbledthumps. Serve.

We serve this with a port and balsamic jus, the acidity of the balsamic vinegar being a perfect foil for the rich fattiness of the duck. 

Dr Duckham is a GP in Tongue and Armadale, Sutherland, and runs Restaurant Cote du Nord, Farr Bay Inn, Sutherland.

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For 4 people

4 Barbary or Goosnargh duck breasts

500g potatoes

4 outer leaves from a savoy cabbage, sliced

2 shallots, peeled and finely diced

White of 1 large leek, diced

80g unsalted butter

100g Isle of Mull (or other cheddar), grated

A little olive oil for frying

Chicken stock, or water

Salt and pepper to taste

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