Confit duck legs
This classic yet versatile duck dish is delicious any time of the year. Serve with Puy lentils and braised red cabbage.
- 6 tbsp coarse rock salt
- Few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
- 1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated, skins on, flattened with a large knife
- 4 large Gressingham duck legs
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 orange, zested
- 1kg duck fat
- You will need to start the confit process at least one day ahead. Scatter one fifth of the salt, herbs and garlic in a deep tray or dish big enough to hold the duck legs. Place the legs skin side down in the dish and sprinkle the rest of the salt, herbs and garlic over the legs along with the peppercorns, bay leaves and orange zest. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, remove the duck legs from the fridge, scrape off the herbs and salt, rinse under cold water and dry well with kitchen roll.
- Preheat the oven to 125°C or 1054°C fan. Place a large ovenproof saucepan or casserole dish on a low heat and melt the duck fat. Carefully place the duck legs into the pan or dish, ensuring they are fully covered by the fat. Cover with a lid or foil and place into the oven. Cook for 2 and a half to 3 hours until tender. Test if the meat is ready by piercing with a skewer; it should be soft and yielding. If not, return to the oven and test every 30 minutes.
- When the duck legs are ready, remove the pan or dish from the oven and allow them to cool in the fat for 1 hour. Take the legs out of the fat and place them on a wire rack in a roasting tray, skin side up. If you wish to store them at this stage, you can put the legs into a container, cover with duck fat, put the lid on and refrigerate for up to a month. Otherwise, keep the fat for your next batch of confit.
- To roast your confit legs, preheat your oven to 200°c or 180°c fan. Place them in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes until the duck is heated through and the skin is crispy. To help speed up the process of crisping the skin, you can place them under a hot grill for the last couple of minutes before serving.