Confit is a traditional French way of cooking duck. The method is centuries-old - first the meat is cured in salt, then poached in its own fat. Be prepared that this special recipe does take a while, but it's definitely worth it. You'll need about 1 litre
- 6 duck legs
- 1 garlic clove (peeled and sliced)
- 6 whole star anise
- 4 tblsp coarse sea salt
- 6 (or 7) sprigs thyme
- 1 orange (sliced and pips removed)
- 1 l duck fat, peanut oil or chicken fat
- 75 g unsalted butter
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 1 red onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled and thinly chopped)
- 175 g savoy cabbage (core removed and thinly sliced)
- 0 salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To marinate the duck legs, place in a single layer in a shallow, non-metallic dish and scatter over the garlic, star anise, sea salt and thyme sprigs. Cover the dish with cling film. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to penetrate the duck.
- Preheat the oven to 100°C (225°F/Gas ¼). Rinse the marinade off the duck legs and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Return the duck legs to the dish and scatter the orange slices on top.
- Heat the duck fat gently in a saucepan, then pour it over the duck legs (if the fat does not completely cover the legs, top it up with the peanut oil or chicken fat). Place in the oven and cook the duck for about 4 hours until it is tender and the meat is almost falling from the bone. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the fat. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, preheat the grill to low. Remove the duck and orange slices from the fat and brush off any excess. Arrange the legs on a grill rack, skin-side up and nestle six orange slices around them. Don't put the rack too close to the grill or the skin will burn. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the duck skin is crisp and golden. Turn the orange slices halfway through; they should be just catching colour.
- Meanwhile, cook the cabbage. Place the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and once the butter is foaming, add the onion and garlic. Sauté over a fairly high heat for 2-3 minutes until it is lightly browned, tossing occasionally. Add the cabbage and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water if necessary, until just tender but still crunchy. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
- To serve, divide the Savoy cabbage and red onion mixture among warmed plates and arrange the crispy duck confit on top and place the caramelised orange slices to the side.
This recipe and many more are available in Neven's new book, 'Neven Maguire: Home Chef', published by Harper Collins.