roast & confit wild duck with bacon & cabbage, garlic & shallots – serves 4

4 wild ducks, legs and breasts removed
for the legs

8 tbsp salt
2 tbsp thyme leaves
500g goose fat
for the breasts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
good squeeze of runny honey
for the sauce
2 tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar
50 ml red wine
200 ml chicken stock
for the bacon with cabbage
200g smoked streaky dry cured bacon - finely chopped
1 Savoy cabbage - finely chopped
50g unsalted butter
for the shallot and garlic garnish
12 small shallots, chopped
2 heads garlic, cloves separated
1 tbsp goose fat
1 sprig thyme, leaves stripped
Cover the duck legs with the salt and thyme leaves, cover a bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 140 C

Wash all the salt off the duck legs and put them in an ovenproof pan, skin side up and cover with the goose fat. make sure the legs are covered. bring to a simmer on the stove top, cover and transfer to oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the legs are very tender. leave to cool, then remove to a wire rack. Strain and save the goose fat.

bacon with cabbage:
Heat a wok over a medium heat and add chopped bacon. Stir fry for a couple of minutes to release bacon fat.
Add chopped Savoy cabbage and stir for two minutes. Reduce heat and cover with a cartouche of parchment. cook for 15 minutes allowing its own moisture to soften cabbage. 
Add a good knob of butter and stir.
shallot and garlic garnish:
Turn oven up to 180 C
Put the chopped shallots and un-peeled garlic onto a large piece of foil. Add the goose fat and thyme and wrap the foil around to enclose. Put the parcel in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until soft. Remove the package from the oven and set aside.
Mix the Chinese five spice with the salt and rub into the duck breasts. Don't overdo the five spice since this can overpower the duck.
Heat a heavy-based pan and sear the duck breasts, skin side down to cook half way through while the skin becomes crisp. turn over, squeeze over the honey and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, then remove from the pan, pour over the honey residue and rest in a warm place.

Fry the duck legs in the same pan, skin side down, until golden and crisp.

Drain off any excess fat from the pan and return to the heat. Add the sherry vinegar and stir to de-glaze, scraping any solid bits from the bottom. Add the wine and stock and reduce over medium heat. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Strain through a sieve.

To serve, spoon a mound of braised cabbage in the middle of a plate, arrange the legs on top, slice the breasts and arrange around the plate along with the shallots and garlic, then spoon around some of the sauce.