Recipe of the month: duck leg confit
PUBLISHED: 18:51 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 18:51 21 August 2015
Kent Life’s Chef of the Year 2014 Andy McLeish on the childhood French holiday memory that has inspired this month’s comfort dish classic.
When I was a child, every year my family and I would take a road trip to France. We would drive down to Dover, catch the ferry and then head to the south of France. On the way down we usually stopped at a hotel or a simple place to get a night’s sleep.
This one particular year I remember my parents struggling to find anywhere that had a room for the night. They asked some of the locals in pidgin English with a French accent if there was a hotel with available rooms for the night.
My memory is a little sketchy but what I do remember is that we ended up at an amazing château that was picture perfect with grounds and turrets (one of which we stayed in).
The restaurant had a kitchen with a large oak table in the middle that all the guests sat around. There was no ordering, just plates of food coming from the oven at different times.
One dish I remember in particular was duck confit. I had no idea what confit meant let alone know how to pronounce it! It smelt and looked amazing. I still remember that experience so clearly, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, even to this day.
To confit food just simply means to cook in fat at a low temperature. This creates the most delicious flavour and makes the meat extremely tender.
Granted, it’s not a meal you can have every day because it’s so indulgent but as an occasional treat… why not?
When the weather starts to change and the nights gets colder, we tend to go for more indulgent food, well at least I do.
To me, there is nothing better than comfort food. I love it all: hearty soups, pies and casseroles.
Tucking into a good plate of duck confit can definitely brighten my day when I’m missing the high-summer months.
This month’s recipe is my own confit of duck leg with a cassoulet of coco beans, pancetta and Toulouse sausage. It truly is the epitome of comfort food.
I decided to include coco beans in this dish because not only have they just come in season but they also work so beautifully in a cassoulet. Enjoy!
Confit of duck leg with a cassoulet of Coco beans, Pancetta and Toulouse sausage
4 Duck legs
100g Maldon salt
Duck fat (enough to completely submerge the duck legs)
4 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves garlic puréed
2 carrots small diced
100g fresh coco beans (out of the pod)
4 Toulouse sausages
3pt Chicken stock
50g diced Pancetta
20g candied orange zest
24 hours before
Rub the Maldon salt into the duck legs and leave for 24 hours.
On the day
Wash the legs thoroughly and place into a small deep ovenproof dish and cover with the duck fat then cover with tin foil. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 100 degrees for approximately 10-12 hours until the duck legs are soft and you can remove the thighbone with ease.
When ready, remove from the duck fat and place on a flat tray skin side down. Remove the thigh bone and refrigerate.
With a heavy bottomed pan large enough to hold all the coco beans and chicken stock, sweat down the shallots, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil then add the coco beans, Toulouse sausages and finally the chicken stock.
Simmer on a low heat until the beans are soft, this should take approx 30-45 mins. Be careful not to over cook or cook too quickly, or else the beans will become broken and mushy. Drain off the excess stock and leave the beans and sausages on a tray to cool.
Place the duck legs skin side down and Toulouse sausages on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approx 12-15 mins until the skin of the duck is crisp and the sausages have a good colour.
While the duck is in the oven, take a heavy bottomed pan and caramelise the diced pancetta in a little oil. Add the cooked coco beans, the diced orange zest and excess chicken stock, and reduce the heat half. Season the beans with salt and pepper, and cook for about five minutes until the excess liquid is mostly gone, leaving a moist but creamy bean cassoulet.
Remove the duck and sausages from the oven. Roughly slice the sausage and add to the bean cassoulet. Pour the cassoulet into a serving dish and place the crispy duck on top, then sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Next month: Andy cooks xxxxx
Follow Andy on Twitter: @andy23471
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