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Duck+rhubarb2_web

I felt quite posh serving this one up.  My mother-in-law made some gorgeous duck confit for tea a couple of weeks ago, and I decided I had to give it a go myself.  As I’m going through a bit of a rhubarb phase at the moment (expect to see rhubarb & almond pudding and also gluten-free rhubarb tea cakes soon), I thought some roasted rhubarb would make a nice accompaniment to compliment the richness of the meat.

Ideally you need to start prepping this the night before, but most of the cooking is hands-off time.  It’s only really the last 40 mins before you serve that you’ll be in the kitchen.  As there is a lot going on in this last 40 mins, I’ve included a simplified time plan to use from step 4 – this presumes an eating time of 18:30 and can be found at the bottom of the recipe. Some recipes use extra fat to cook the duck in, but I don’t think it needs it.  The duck was still tender and full of flavour.  I was also left with a good couple of tablespoons of duck fat (which I used to pan fry the crushed potatoes in) and some meaty stock – which made a tasty gravy. As you can see, along with the duck, rhubarb and gravy, I also served up some pan fried crushed potatoes and some steamed kale and carrots.

As it turned out, there was enough meat on the duck legs that the children only needed one between them.  So I used the leftover duck and veg to make a tasty salad the next day.  I also used the leftover rhubarb juice to make a simple salad dressing.

Duck+rhubarb1_web

Duck Confit with Roasted Rhubarb (serves 4):

Ingredients: Duck Confit:

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 heaped tbsp salt flakes (reduce this to a level tbsp if using table salt)
  • ½ tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves ripped into quarters
  • 150ml dry white wine

Roasted rhubarb:

  • 200g rhubarb, washed and cut into 5cm length pieces
  • 1 heaped tbsp caster sugar

Gravy:

  • Leftover duck stock from cooking the duck
  • A few drops of gravy browning (this is usually gluten free, but check your brand if you’re gluten intolerant)
  • 1 heaped tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 or 4 tbsp of cold water

To serve:

  • 400g baby new potatoes
  • Pack of washed kale
  • 8-12 small whole carrots, peeled

Method:

  1. The night before, rub the salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and garlic on the duck legs, pack them together, skin side up on a single layer in a dish, cover in clingfilm and refrigerate.
  2. Next morning gently wipe the duck legs down to brush most of the salt off.  Don’t wash with water as this will wash off the flavour and make the duck legs too moist.  Pack closely together, skin side down, in one layer in a large plan, pour over the wine and put a lid on the pan.  Bring to a gentle bubble and lower the heat to its lowest possible setting.  Leave to cook very gently for 2 hours.  During this time, the fat will start to render from the duck, so you should eventually see the amount of liquid increasing rather than decreasing. Once cooked, the duck will be lovely and tender, and you can eat it right away if you can’t wait for the roasting stage!
  3. Once the duck is cooked, take out of the pan and leave the duck legs and pan of liquid to cool separately.  Then put the duck legs in a bowl, skim the fat off the cooking liquid and pour/spread over and around the duck.  Cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you probably won’t have enough fat to submerge the duck legs, but this is fine if you’re planning on eating the duck in the next day or two.  If you want to keep the duck in the fridge for longer – i.e. a month or two, you can add in a jar of duck/goose fat when you’re cooking the duck legs in step 2.  This will give you enough leftover fat to submerge the duck legs and refrigerate for a lot longer).  Put the remaining cooking liquid in the fridge too – to make the gravy later.
  4. About 40 mins before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 220c.  Then put the whole baby potatoes in a pan, cover in water, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 -20 mins until tender (depending on size of the potatoes).
  5. Once the potatoes have come to a boil, put the duck legs on a baking tray, skin side up.  Leave a bit of the cooking fat on them, but they don’t need to be dripping in fat.  Cook in the oven for 30 mins.
  6. Put carrots on to steam, and steam for about 20 mins.  Add the kale to the steamer for the last 5 mins of cooking time
  7. To make the gravy, heat up the leftover cooking liquid then add a couple of drops of gravy browning and whisk in the cornflour/water mixture.
  8. Add the rhubarb and sugar to a small oven proof dish, cover with tinfoil and put in the oven with the duck for the last 15 mins of the cooking time.  Check after 10 mins, as you want the rhubarb to be soft and to have released a bit of liquid.  If it overcooks, the rhubarb will break up and release a lot of liquid (still very tasty though, so I’d serve it anyway relabelled as ‘rhubarb compote’!)
  9. Once the potatoes are tender, drain them and heat up a tbsp or 2 of the duck fat in a large frying pan.  Give the potatoes a bit of a bash with a fork to break them up a bit, and fry them with some salt and pepper until browned and crispy (about 10 mins).
  10. At this point, everything should be ready to dish up and serve.

Quick time breakdown for steps 4-10:

17:50: Oven on, potatoes on to boil
18:00: Duck in oven
18:05: Steamer switched on (or water on to boil) for the carrots/kale
18:10: Carrots on to steam
18:11: Make gravy, then keep warm
18:15: Rhubarb sprinkled with sugar, covered and put in oven
18:17: Duck fat heating in large frying pan for the pan fried potatoes
18:20: Drain potatoes, crush and fry in the duck fat with seasoning
18:25: Kale on to steam, check on rhubarb
18:30: Duck out of oven, potatoes, carrots, kale and rhubarb ready to serve

***Leftovers***
If you have leftovers, these go well with a few salad leaves and some sliced spring onion.  If you have any leftover rhubarb and/or rhubarb liquid, whisk this up with a tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning.  You can also add a bit of balsamic or white wine vinegar if you like your salad dressing zingy.