Confit duck leg with shoestring fries and plum ketchup
- September 2022
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 1 hour 20 min, plus 6 hours curing. Oven time 3 hours.
Meltingly tender duck and a tangle of crisp potatoes (fried in the same delicious fat) are paired with a sweet, tangy plum sauce. Don’t be put off by the time it takes to prepare the confit duck – it’s effortless and can be done in advance.
Next time? Learn how to make a rich, slow-cooked duck ragu.
- 26.9g (6.9g saturated)
- 48.9g (35.8g sugars)
- 1 tsp chinese five-spice
- 25g sea salt flakes
- 4 duck legs
- 640g goose or duck fat, melted
- 250g floury potatoes
For the ketchup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 5cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
- 500g plums, pitted and chopped
- 80g light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
- 1 tsp chinese five-spice
You’ll also need
- Julienne peeler
Useful to have
- Probe thermometer
- Mix the five-spice and salt, then rub it all over the duck legs. Put in a container, cover and leave in the fridge to cure for 6 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the ketchup. Put the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the rest of the ketchup ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a jammy consistency. Transfer to a blender or food processor, whizz for 2-3 minutes with a tea towel over the hole until smooth, then taste – add a little more salt or vinegar if you think it needs it. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
- After the duck has cured, heat the oven to 100°C fan/gas ½. Thoroughly wash the salt mixture off the duck legs, then pat dry. Put in a tight-fitting dish, pour over the goose or duck fat, then cover the dish tightly with foil. Cook in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Leave the duck legs to cool in the fat (see Make Ahead).
- Peel the potatoes and use a julienne peeler or mandoline with a julienne attachment to slice them into thin matchsticks. Wash them in water 3 times to remove excess starch, then pat dry. Put a wide frying pan over a medium-high heat and a medium saucepan over a high heat. Put the fat used to cook the duck legs into the saucepan and heat to 180°C on a thermometer (or until a potato strand sizzles vigorously when added).
- Put the cooked duck legs skin-side down in the frying pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until the skin crisps up. Turn over the legs, reduce the heat to low and brush the skin with a little of the plum sauce. Keep warm while you prepare the potatoes.
- In batches, deep-fry the potatoes for 1-2 minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt.
- Serve the duck legs with a pile of shoestring fries and a generous dollop of plum sauce on the side for dipping.
Don’t waste it: Leftover plum ketchup? Try it spread on bacon sandwiches or serve it with cheese or pork.
Confit duck legs will sit in their cooking fat for a few weeks in the fridge. Remove from the fat, wiping off any excess, fry as in step 5 to get some colour, then roast in a high oven until piping hot.
The plum ketchup can be made up to a week ahead and chilled.
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