This comforting confit duck and cassoulet recipe from Andy McLeish is inspired by a dish served to him on a memorable childhood holiday, as he explains: "I have always remembered a particular stay in a château in the south of France. The château was beautiful and all guests dined together on the large oak kitchen table. The lady of the house served an amazing meal with numerous courses. I remember the romance of the evening and also the confit duck being moist, succulent and crisp at the same time. I was not a chef then and was probably only 9-10 years old but that experience has always stayed with me."
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The day before cooking, rub the salt into the duck legs, refrigerate and leave for 24 hours to cure
4 duck legs
100g of flaky sea salt
On the day of cooking, preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4
Wash the legs thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry. Place into a small deep ovenproof dish. Cover with the duck fat and seal with tin foil
duck fat, enough to completely submerge the duck legs
Cook in the oven for approximately 10-12 hours, until the duck legs are soft and you can remove the thighbone with ease
When the duck is cooked, remove from the duck fat and place onto a flat baking tray skin-side down. Remove the thighbones and refrigerate. The fat can then be strained and stored in the fridge to use up to 3 more times
In a heavy-bottomed pan large enough to hold all of the coco beans and chicken stock, sweat down the shallots, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil. Add the coco beans, Toulouse sausages then the chicken stock
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, puréed
2 carrots, small, diced
100g of Coco de Paimpol beans, fresh, out of pod
4 Toulouse sausages
1.7l chicken stock
Simmer on a low heat until the beans are soft - this should take approximately 30-45 minutes. Take care not to overcook or cook too quickly, or the beans will become broken and mushy
Drain off the excess stock (reserve this for later) and leave the beans and sausages on a tray to cool
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Add the Toulouse sausages to the baking tray with the duck legs and place in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes, until the skin of the duck is crisp and the sausages have a good colour
Whilst the duck is in the oven, place a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium-high heat and caramelise the diced pancetta in a little oil. Add the cooked coco beans, the diced orange zest and excess chicken stock and reduce the heat to a simmer
50g of pancetta, diced
20g of candied orange zest
Season the beans with salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes until the excess liquid is mostly gone, leaving a moist but creamy bean cassoulet
Remove the duck and sausages from the oven and roughly slice the sausages. Add to the bean cassoulet, then pour into a serving dish and place the crispy duck on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately
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