Duck Confit with Crispy Fried Vegetables

One of my favourite recipes, duck is always so popular in the restaurant that whenever we have it on the menu it almost always sells out. If you don’t have time to cook your own you can buy a very good product from Silverhill in Monaghan, which is readily available.

Ingredients


  • 6 duck legs
  • 6–7 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tblsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 l (1 3/4 pints) duck fat

For the crispy vegetables
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spinach/watercress purée
  • 50 g (2oz) spinach or watercress leaves, tough talks removed
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Marmalade sauce
  • 225 ml (8fl oz) beef stock
  • 4 tblsp marmalade
  • 2 tblsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tblsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tblsp cointreau liqueur
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To marinate the duck legs, place them in a single layer in a shallow non-metallic dish and scatter over the thyme, star anise, cinnamon, garlic and salt. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to penetrate the duck.
  2. Preheat the oven to 120°C (250F°/ Gas 1/2).
  3. Rinse the marinade off the duck legs and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Return the duck legs to the dish. Heat the duck fat gently in a pan, then pour it over the duck legs to cover them completely. Place in the oven and cook for about 4 hours, until very tender and the meat is almost falling from the bone. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the fat.
  4. When ready to serve, preheat the grill to low. Remove the duck confit from the dish and brush off any excess fat. Arrange the duck legs on a grill rack skin side up, but don’t put the rack too close to the grill or the skin will burn. Season with salt and cook for 10–15 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden.
  5. To prepare the crispy vegetables, heat a deep-fat fryer filled with sunflower oil to 170°C (340°F). Shave the carrot, courgette and beetroot into thin strips or ribbons using a potato peeler or mandolin. Make sure you do the beetroot last or you will discolour the other vegetables. Blanch the strips in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute, until just tender but still with a little bite. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Working in batches, deep-fry the vegetable strips for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until crisp and golden brown. Drain well on kitchen paper and season to taste.
  6. To serve, arrange the crispy duck confit on plates with the crispy vegetables. Add a swipe of spinach purée to each plate and drizzle over the marmalade sauce.
For the purée
  1. Blanch the spinach or watercress in a pan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds, then refresh quickly under cold running water. Drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Place in a Thermomix or blender for 5–7 minutes, adding the oil in a slow, continuous stream until the purée comes together. Season to taste and use as required.
For the marmalade sauce
  1. Place the stock, marmalade, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, Cointreau and thyme in a small pan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to a sauce consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste, then pass through a sieve into a clean pan, discarding the thyme. Reheat gently and use as required.
  3. This sauce keeps for up to 1 week in a rigid plastic container in the fridge.

Notes:

Cooking ahead: The duck confit can be made 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. A nice wine match might be an earthy Pinot Noir from the Côtes de Nuits or a Merlot from St-Émilion in Bordeaux.





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