I've been lucky enough to have spend many weeks in South-West France which is the home of duck confit and where I first tasted this French classic. It was so delicious and really easy to buy in large tins from the local Intermarché. Later, when I was cooking in restaurants, duck confit was all the rage and we used to confit our own duck legs on a weekly basis. It's been on my 'hangman's meal' short-list ever since.
It's hard to find those same duck confit tins in the supermarkets here but I was so excited to discover this version, made in Ireland and in vacuum sealed packs with a good long shelf life. It's stunning quality and just as good as any confit you'll find in France.
This recipe is so simple and is a true gastro pub classic that you can make at home.
1 Pack Lecale Harvest duck confit
Chopped fresh parsley
For the beans
75g smoked pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 Jar Burcol white beans, drained
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely diced
A sprig of fresh thyme, worst of the stalks removed
250ml chicken stock
A little olive oil for cooking
For the braised red cabbage
¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced (if the cabbage is quite small you may need more)
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon mixed spice
50ml red wine vinegar
50ml red wine
1½ tablespoons soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper
1. Start with the red cabbage as this will take the longest. The measurements above are a little bit of an approximation as it depends on the size of your cabbage, but whenever I make red cabbage, I always find I adjust the seasoning slightly towards the end of the cooking.
The way I do this is as uncomplicated as putting all the ingredients into a small saucepan with a lid and cooking it gently for about an hour. You will immediately think that there's not enough liquid in the bottom, but keep the lid on and the heat very low. Check it from time to time to make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom, which there should be unless the heat is too high - if necessary add a little water.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
3. In a heavy pan or casserole dish, heat the oil and fry the pancetta until it starts becoming a little crispy. Turn the heat down and add the onion and garlic. Keep cooking until the onion has softened, then add in the fresh thyme and the jar of beans. Cook for a minute then add in the chicken stock. The salty pancetta should be all the seasoning you need for this. Cook gently for around 15 minutes - make sure they don't dry out, so add a little water if they do.
4. Meanwhile, remove the packaging from the duck confit, place on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes in the oven.
5. Check the red cabbage for seasoning, I tend to want to either add a little more sugar, a little more salt or a touch more vinegar. You're aiming for a lovely soft texture with a slightly sweet and sharp flavour that will contrast perfectly with the rich duck.
6. When the cabbage is done, the beans are cooked and the duck has had 15 minutes in the oven, it's time to plate up.
7. Spoon the beans onto the plate, add a pile of the red cabbage and a duck leg for each plate. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley.
Hero status now awaits! Enjoy. Don't forget to leave a review for my recipe below and if you feel like sharing your creation, tag us @somerset.foodie too. Ben
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