Friday, 10 February 2012

Duck Confit with Pommes Boulangere

Every year or so, my mum, Mrs Ribeye Sr., and I, take her huge 4x4 over to Calais and stock up on French hypermarket treats. On our 'must not miss' list are normally whole jambon crus (air-dried hams), single forerib beef steaks (very hard to buy in UK supermarkets, for some reason), huge jars of Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and tins of duck confit.

Had I known that duck confit was easy to make at home (and probably cheaper, after factoring in petrol and Eurotunnel expenses etc), I would have taken up more boot space with wine and beer, rather than the unwieldy 2kg tins.

Then one day, I made a pork rillettes recipe (to come to Potless on a later date - watch this space) and it occurred to me that the confit process I was subjecting my pork bellies to, could be adapted for duck legs. So I tried it, and lo and behold - not only easy to make, but those French duck confit tins I used to buy now remind me of dog food in comparison. Sorry Carrefour, but it's true.

Those French tins were setting me back about £8 for five duck legs. This recipe comes in at £2.50 per serving INCLUDING the pommes boulangere side dish. You may also want to serve this dish with a sharp salad vinaigrette, to cut the richness of the dish.

Serves 4

Duck Confit


4 large duck legs
4 tablespoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of black pepper
8 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
500g melted duck fat

Start by rubbing the salt, garlic, bayleaves, thyme and pepper into the duck legs and leave them, uncovered, in a container in the fridge overnight. The next day, transfer the contents of the container to an oven dish, cover with the duck fat and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 100c and leave the duck legs to cook for 4 hours. There must be barely a bubble breaking the surface of the fat. After 4 hours, remove the duck from the pan and dry the skin on kitchen paper. Allow to cool. Fry the duck confit, skin side down, in a moderately hot frying pan until crispy. Serve with the pommes boulangere.


Pommes Boulangere


1kg waxy potatoes, such as Desiree, or Charlotte
1 large onion, finely sliced into half moons
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of dried thyme leaves
Pinches of salt and pepper
500ml chicken stock
4-5 knobs of butter

Preheat oven to 200c. Peel and cut the potatoes into 5mm thick slices. Layer the potatoes, onion and garlic in a roasting dish, sprinkling the thyme and salt and pepper between each layer. Ensure that the top layer is even and attractively arranged, with overlapping potato slices. Carefully pour the chicken stock over the potatoes and dot the butter over the dish. Place the dish in the oven and cook until the top is golden and crunchy (1 hour approx).

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