Monday, 29 October 2012

Duck Confit with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Quick Fried Pak Choi

Confit leg of duck with roasted sweet potatoes and flash fried pak choi

Traditional duck confit is as much a food preservation technique as a cooking method. It involves brining or salting the duck legs for up to a couple of days before cooking them very slowly and gently, submerged in duck or goose fat. They can then be cooled and stored in the fat, in the refrigerator, for up to a couple of weeks. In this instance, though, as the duck confit is for immediate consumption, the salting or brining process was eliminated and considerably less fat was used.

Goose fat for duck confit

Ingredients (Serves Two)

2 whole duck leg and thigh portions
4 tsps duck or goose fat
2 large sweet potatoes
1 pak choi
Black pepper
Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
2 orange slices for garnish

Duck legs ready for the oven


Put two teaspoons of goose or duck fat in the base of an ovenproof dish, just large enough to contain both the duck legs. Pierce the skin of each duck leg several times with a skewer and sit one - skin side up - on top of each lump of fat. Add a further teaspoon of fat to the top of each leg and season well with salt only. Put the dish on to a roasting tray and place it in to a cold (not preheated) oven, set to 150C/300F. Leave to cook for two hours.

Parboiled sweet potatoes are left to steam and cool

Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes. Put them in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a simmer for ten minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes, return them to the empty pot and leave them to steam and dry out for five minutes. Cover and leave to cool completely.

Duck confit

Take the duck confit from the oven and carefully lift the legs to a plate. Cover and leave to rest.

Duck legs are lifted from the fat and left to rest

Carefully stir the sweet potatoes through the fat and put the dish back in the oven, turning it up to 220C/450F for fifteen to twenty minutes until crisp.

Sweet potatoes are roasted in duck and goose fat combination

Pak choi is sometimes referred to as Chinese cabbage. It can be eaten raw in salads or very successfully incorporated in stir fries.

Pak choi

In this instance, the pak choi leaves are sliced in half and fried for a couple of minutes in a little bit of very hot oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Flash frying pak choi

The orange slices should be almost but not quite cut in half. Cut out the flesh and twist the rind as a garnish.

Orange slice for garnishing duck confit

Plate the duck legs. Drain the sweet potatoes on a plate of kitchen paper and add them to the plate with the pak choi. Garnish with the twisted orange rinds.

Confit duck leg, sweet potatoes and pak choi are plated

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