Since publishing my last duck confit recipe, buying goose fat to make this dish has become much easier and these days is available in most large UK supermarkets.
The name confit is of course French and means “to cook in its own juices” and was a traditional way to cook & preserve the meat in fat before refrigerators were invented. The process involves cooking the meat submerged in the fat very slowly. The key to storing the meat successfully was the fat had to be pure (no water) and that all air pockets were removed so the fat could not go rancid.
Serving duck confit can be part of a cassoulet or it can be served as a starter as I have done. If you make the confit the day before this a very easy yet sophisticated starter to serve at your next dinner party.
Often in France confit de canard is served with potatoes that have been fried in the goose fat with garlic, but I wanted to make it a little lighter and offer a contrast between the savoury duck and the intense cherry flavour of my chutney. Most chutneys usually have onions in them but I decided for a change to keep the onions separate and make them crispy.
1.5 heads of garlic
2 Thyme sprigs
1 small sprig of rosemary
450 ml Goose fat or vegetable oil*
1 bag rocket leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
300g fresh cherries
100g griottines & juice
2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 finely diced red chili
3 Tablespoons sour cherry jam
1 dessertspoon of cornflour
1 large onion peeled
3 dessertspoons plain Greek Yogurt
Self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon Smoked paprika
Duck Confit preparation
Season the legs on both sides well with salt and black pepper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, this is to draw the moisture out of the duck and help preserve it.
In the meantime make the chutney.
- Pit the fresh cherries and reserve.
- Place the griottines and juice in a small heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add enough water to the cornflour to make a paste and stir the cornflour into the griottines and continue to stir briskly to avoid lumps.
- Turn the heat down to medium low, add the fresh cherries and cook until soft (stirring from time to time).
- Now add the finely diced chili, the sour cherry jam and the red wine vinegar and continue to cook on a low heat until the chutney is syrupy (see photo) and reduced.
- Allow to cool and reserve.
Duck Confit continued
- Rub off the salt and pepper from the duck legs and dry well with paper towels.
- In small but deep saucepan (see photo) add the goose fat and herbs & break the garlic down into cloves, but don’t bother peeling them. Then turn the heat on low as you can.
- Carefully put the duck legs into the fat as it heats up. Make sure the legs are completely covered and bring the fat up to a low simmer. The duck legs will take about 2 1/2 hours to cook, and should be very tender when done, be sure to test with a skewer.
- Remove the confit saucepan from the stove and allow the legs to cool in the fat .
- Slice the onion as thinly as possible and separate into onion rings.
- Place into a shallow bowl and add 3 dessertspoon of plain yogurt and mix well.
- Transfer the onion rings onto a large plate and dust liberally with self-raising flour and then the smoked paprika.
- Deep-fry the onions until brown and crispy and then drain on paper towels and keep warm.
Wash the rocket leaves, then drain well.
Heat the duck legs either in a hot oven 200 C for 10-12 minutes or better still in a hot dry non stick frying pan. keep turning the duck until it is brown and crispy (about 5-6 minutes).
Spoon the olive oil onto the rocket, toss & season. Divide the rocket between two plates. Top with the duck confit & serve the cold chutney and the crispy onion strings to the side (see photo).
The confit cooking fat can be reused but strain it first before storing in a plastic container. When reusing you will need to simmer the fat for 30 minutes prior to use to evaporate any water content, then add fresh herbs & garlic. Special thanks to
Griottines are a unique recipe of wild morello cherries which have been graded, de-stoned and steeped in liquor and Kirsch. Here’s another of my griottine recipes
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