Confit of Duckling

Serves 4 in 12 Hours

Coated with Salami & Pimento Sauce on Seed Mustard Seasoning This dish does take some time to prepare and should be started at least a day before you plan to eat it. But take your time, perhaps a few sips of wine after all it does have it's origins in classic French Cuisine. Truly though this a marriage of French and Austro-Hungarian Food. The only thing missing is the Beetroot , my inspiration for this dish lie in the time I spent in kitchens working with chefs from various parts of Europe. One friend Fritz Siedl from Austria would have relished this dish and rounded it off with a cognac and plate of Apple Strudel.

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Method

Place the duck legs into a shallow stainless steel or glass dish and rub salt into them. Sprinkle with ground black pepper; insert the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme into the crook of the leg joints. Cover and leave in a cool place overnight. The longer you leave it the stronger the flavour will be.

Turn on the oven, setting the temperature to a low heat, at 150ºC, gas mark 2. Give the duck legs a good wipe with kitchen paper to remove any salt, then arrange them in a metal roasting dish (cast iron casserole would be good) or simply use a frying pan. Place this over a low heat and slowly start to brown the legs. Again don't be in a hurry to do this.

If using a frying pan transfer the duck legs to a deep roasting tray or porcelain casserole. Add the duck fat smearing all over the duck. Make sure the bay leaves and thyme are intact and grind a bit more pepper over the duck. Place it in the oven and leave it to cook, roasting gently for 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Remove the cooked confit from the oven and leave to cool. Just take in the wonderful cooked duck aromas. You can keep the Duck will keep perfectly well like this for several days in a cool place, like an old fashioned pantry.

On the day you decide to tuck into your freshly preserved confit make up the seasoning and the sauce to accompany it. Peel and finely chop the shallot, fry in a little oil without colouring. Add the seed mustard and stir in the breadcrumbs. Mix well and then add a little water to moisten turn into a buttered oven-proof dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

To make the sauce cut the salami and peppers into thin strips about 3mm wide and 2cm long. Boil up the gravy with the red wine vinegar and add the peppers and salami.

The best way to reheat this dish is to set the oven at 200 Cº, gas mark 6. Scrape off almost all the fat, and then put the duck legs on a baking tray. Roast them for about 15 minutes till the skin is crisp. If you prefer, you can fry the duck pieces in a shallow pan for about 10-15 minutes till warmed right through and the skin has crisped.

To serve, take the seasoning out of the oven and shape quenelles of the seasoning with two dessert spoons and place a quenelle in the centre of each warmed plate. Place a duck leg on top of each quenelle then spoon the sauce around the plate and perhaps a trickle across the meat.

To accompany this dish I would serve braised red cabbage flavoured with apples and pan fried potatoes cooked in the fat from the confit perhaps flavoured with rosemary.

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