Confit duck with red onion jam


    50g maldon sea salt

    50g sugar

    25g chinese five spice

    4 large duck legs

    a small amount of goose fat

    6 medium red onion (thinly sliced)

    1 tbsp olive oil

    1/2 bottle red wine

    150ml balsamic vinegar

    225g sugar

    1/2 bunch of thyme (picked and chopped)

    1 red onion (roughly chopped)

    1 large carrot (roughly chopped)

    1 stick of celery (roughly chopped)

    1 leek (roughly chopped)

    2 garlic cloves (lightly crushed with a knife)

    1/2 bunch thyme

    1-2 tbsp olive oil

    1 bottle red wine

    570ml beef stock

    a dollop of butter

    2 glugs of oil

    16 new potatoes (slightly undercooked and sliced)

    some flat leaf parsley (chopped)

    1 garlic clove (crushed)

    1 bag baby spinach (washed and dried)

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Main serves 4

This duck confit dish is a particular favourite of mine as it intensifies flavours over a long gentle period of cooking while keeping the meat moist. It is something that can easily be made at home for dinner parties, as all of the preparation can be done well in advance.

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 Start preparing 2 days in advance. Mix all of the dry ingredients for the duck together, and rub generously into each duck leg. Layer them in a container, cover, and put in the fridge for 24 hours.


To make the confit, preheat the oven to 130C/250F/gas mark 1/2 . Remove the duck legs from their container, wash thoroughly and pat dry. Place them in a deep-sided ovenproof dish. Melt enough goose fat to pour over and completely cover the duck legs. Place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. To check the duck is cooked, push a fine skewer into the thick part of the leg – there should be no resistance. Once cooked, cool, then transfer the legs to another container and strain the fat over them to cover. When cold, refrigerate.


Next, you should tackle the red onion jam. Sauté the onions in the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Once soft, add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer until the mixture becomes very syrupy and all the liquid has gone. Season, cool and refrigerate.


For the sauce, start by sautéing all of the vegetables, garlic and herbs in the oil in a heavy-based pan, until they are soft and lightly golden. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency, approximately half again. Strain and season to taste, adding some more chopped fresh thyme if required.


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Remove the duck from the container and scrape off any excess fat, then place the duck in a heavy based baking tray and cook for 25 minutes until the skin becomes crispy.


Heat a frying pan and add a little butter and oil. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until golden, turn each piece and repeat. Once the potatoes are cooked, add 2 tbsp of the red onion jam and the chopped parsley. Gently mix and take off the heat. Season.


In another pan, heat some more butter and oil, add the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir/toss until wilted. Season.


Heat the sauce. To serve, dress the plate with the potatoes and spinach. Put the duck leg on top of this and pour the sauce around the plate, avoiding the duck so that the skin stays crispy.

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