• To make 500ml rendered duck fat, combine 1kg duck fat (ask your butcher) with 500ml water in a large, heavy-based pot. Bring to a simmer on low heat. Do not boil, as the fat will burn. Simmer gently until the water evaporates, leaving the rendered fat behind. Strain while hot and set aside until needed.
• For alternative flavours, add a few cloves to the duck marinade, or 2 star anise, or some grated fresh ginger.
• The oven temperature must remain very low when roasting, or the meat will end up tough and stringy.
• This dish goes well with mash or potatoes fried in duck fat.
Duck confit with bean cassoulet
- 25ml rock salt
- 30ml (2 tbsp) crushed black peppercorns
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 bay leaves crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- rind of 1 orange
- 4 x large duck legs and thighs (about 200g each)
- 50g dried butter beans
- 50g dried black soya beans
- 50g dried flageolet beans
- 50g dried sugar beans
- 50g dried mung beans
- 800g rendered duck fat, for roasting (see cook’s tip)
- 800ml chicken stock
- 100g onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 100g streaky bacon or pancetta, diced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- olive oil, for drizzling
- red wine vinegar, to serve
For the duck confit, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and orange rind in a bowl. Sprinkle half this mixture over the bottom of a roasting tray. Place the duck portions fat-side-down on top and distribute the remaining seasoning mixture on top of the duck. Cover and leave in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. At the same time, place the beans in separate bowls, cover with water and leave to soak overnight.
Next day, wash the salt mixture off the duck and dry with paper towel. Preheat the oven to very low, no more than 90°C.
Place the duck legs in a large ovenproof saucepan and cover with the duck fat.
Cover the saucepan with foil and roast the duck in the oven for about 6 hours. The fat must not go above a simmer.
If you are not using the duck immediately, leave it to cool in the fat until needed. When ready to use, remove the duck from the fat and transfer to a pan.
Fry the duck on all sides until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes depending on size. There is no need to add oil or fat to the pan. Remove and set aside until needed.
For the bean cassoulet, drain the soaked beans and simmer them in a saucepan with the chicken stock on very low heat until tender, about 1 hour. Strain the beans and leave the stock on the heat until it is reduced by half.
In a large frying pan, sauté the onions and bacon until cooked, about 10 minutes.
Season the onion mixture, add the thyme, bay leaves and beans. Add the reduced stock and parsley and drizzle with the oil.
Finish the duck in a hot oven until it is warm and the skin is crispy. Drizzle with a little red wine vinegar before serving.
To drink: Morgenster Caruso Rosé, serious and very dry, with lots of candied red fruit, a touch of spice and crisp acidity.