Confit duck leg with flageolet bean ragoût - serves 4

8 duck legs
lots of fine sea salt
6 sprigs thyme
1 kg goose fat
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 juniper berries, crushed
2 banana shallots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g flageolet beans, drained
400ml chicken stock
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped

Layer the duck legs in a large bowl liberally sprinkling with salt, crushed garlic, thyme sprigs and crushed juniper.

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

The point here is to give a mild cure to the legs and impart some subtle flavour. You should see some of the extracted moisture from the duck in the bowl in the morning.

Wash the legs under running water to remove the salt and dry with kitchen towel.

Heat the oven to 120C

Pack the legs tightly into an oven pan, cover with goose fat and place a cartouche of baking parchment over the top so it is just in contact with the goose fat.

Put the baking tray into the oven for 2½ - 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Carefully remove the duck legs from the fat and place onto a wire rack to drain off any excess fat.

Strain and reserve the expensive goose fat for future use.

At this stage the legs could be stored in the fat for several weeks, if required

Shred the meat from four of the duck legs. Set the other four aside.

Heat a little of the reserved goose fat in a frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the shallot and garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

Add the canned tomatoes, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the shredded duck meat, flageolet beans, stock and rosemary and return the mixture to the boil. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then season to taste.

Heat a little of the reserved goose fat in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the reserved duck legs, skin-side down, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the duck meat is warmed through.

To serve, top some of the ragoût with a duck leg. Some mashed potatoes would go well with this.


Also works with chicken legs