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.
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.