This impressive duck confit with canellini beans and sweetheart cabbage serves six guests. For best results marinate your duck a few days before your dinner party
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
- 4 tbsp sea salt
- 6 duck legs (about 190g each)
- 2 x 350g jars goose fat
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 70g pack of cubed pancetta
- Fresh rosemary leaves picked off 1 sprig
- A few fresh sage leaves
- 1 sweetheart cabbage, thick stalks removed, chopped
- 410g can cannellini beans, drained
Mix the thyme leaves, chopped rosemary and salt in a large dish. Coat the duck legs in the mixture, then lay them in the dish, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 2-4 days, draining any liquid off.
Rinse the legs, then dry them with kitchen paper. Set the oven to Gas Mark 3 or 160°C. Put the goose fat in a roasting tin and place in the oven. When it has melted, pack in the duck legs with a thyme sprig and a rosemary sprig. Cover with foil, and cook for 2½ hours. Turn them over halfway through cooking. Leave the duck legs to cool for a little while in the fat, but, before it sets, put them in a dish and strain the warm fat over to completely cover the legs, for storing. They will keep like this in the fridge for a couple of months.
For serving: Set the oven to Gas Mark 9 or 240°C. Take the duck out of the fat, put skin-side down in a hot pan. Warm gently over a low heat and brown the skin then roast in the oven, with more herb sprigs, if you like, for 15 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, garlic and pancetta, with the additional rosemary leaves and sage, for 10 mins. Blanch the cabbage in a pan of boiling, salted water for a minute. Drain well, cool under cold water. Add the beans and 150ml (¼ pint) hot stock or water to the frying pan. Simmer for 5 mins. Add cabbage to warm through. Divide between 6 hot plates and place a duck leg on top. Drizzle with oil, if you like. Note: If you haven’t got time to confit the duck, just cook it slowly in the fat with the herbs. Cool it, then reheat as above for serving.
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Don’t throw away the goose fat removed from the confit; it can be reused five or six times for confit. It’ll keep for six months in the fridge; use it to cook roast potatoes, too.