Confit duck legs, brussels sprouts, kaiserfleisch

Confit duck legs, brussels sprouts, kaiserfleisch

By
From
New Classics
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

The process of confiting duck legs in their own fat is an ancient one, used pre-refrigeration to preserve the meat. The result of this is super flavoursome and quite salty meat. I enjoy this dish when served with something leafy – cabbage, spinach or brussels sprouts are wonderful foils for the richness of the duck.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
garlic
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
250g rock salt
6 duck legs
2.5kg duck fat, available at good butchers and food stores
1 litre Double chicken stock
1 3 cm thick slice of kaiserfleisch or good-quality smoked bacon
130g unsalted butter, skin removed and reserved
200ml canola oil
24 brussels sprouts
100g see method for ingredients
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
salt and pepper

Method

  1. To prepare the duck, roughly crush the garlic, peppercorns, herbs (using only half the thyme) and cinnamon stick using a mortar and pestle then rub into the salt. Roll the duck legs in this mixture, lay flat on a tray and leave to disgorge for 4 hours. (This will draw moisture from the flesh while also imparting the flavours from the salt.) After 4 hours rinse very well in cold water. Pat dry on paper towel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Melt the duck fat in a deep baking dish and submerge the legs. Cover with a sheet of baking paper pressed onto the surface and then cover with aluminium foil. Cook for 4–6 hours then remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Gently remove the legs and twist out the thigh bone. Trim any unattractive bits and form into a neat shape. Refrigerate on a baking tray lined with paper until needed. (The legs will last covered like this for up to a week.) Strain the fat into a bucket and refrigerate for next time.
  3. For the sauce, put the chicken stock, the remaining thyme and the kaiserfleisch skin in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid has reduced by about half or until a sauce-like consistency. Strain into another pan.
  4. Trim the outer leaves from the brussels sprouts and reserve. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the whole sprouts for 6–8 minutes, depending on their size or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain. Cut some of the brussels sprouts in half for variation.
  5. Cut the kaiserfleisch slice into 1 cm batons or lardons. Put into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to the boil then immediately drain and spread on paper towel to dry. This removes any excess saltiness.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C. Put the duck legs on a baking tray and brush with a little duck fat. Bake until the skin is crispy and they are heated through, about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, melt 30 g of the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and add the kaiserfleisch lardons. When the lardons start to colour add the brussels sprouts and cook, shaking the pan often until the lardons are crisp and the sprouts are nicely coloured.
  8. Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan to 180°C or when you dip the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil it bubbles vigorously. Fry the reserved outside leaves from the brussels sprouts for a minute or two or until the bubbling subsides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt flakes.
  9. Bring the sauce back to the boil, allow to reduce a little and then finish by whisking in the remaining butter. Stir through the crème fraîche and seeded mustard. Check the seasoning.
  10. To serve

    Place a duck leg on each plate and spoon around the sprouts and lardons. Spoon around some sauce and top with the leaves. Serve.
Tags:
Philippa
Phillipa
Sibley
European
restaurant
chef
high
end
fine
dining
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