Honey-roast confit of duck

This hearty French classic combines meltingly tender meat with crispy skin, and can be made well in advance - perfect for dinner parties

Ingredients

  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves roughly chopped
  • 2-3 rosemary sprigs, leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, lightly bashed
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 duck leg (about 800g)
  • 750g duck fat
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sunflower oil, for covering the duck, if needed
  • 4 tbsp clear honey

How to Make It

Step 1:

Mix together the thyme, rosemary, garlic and peppercorns with 2 tbsp flaky sea salt. Tip half into a large baking dish, top with the duck legs, then sprinkle over the remaining salt and massage well into the duck. Cover with cling film and chill for 24 hrs.

Step 2:

Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Take the duck legs out of the dish, wipe off the salt mixture with kitchen paper, then set aside.

Step 3:

Melt the duck fat in a flameproof casserole dish until just bubbling. Add the bay leaves and duck legs, and bring to a gentle simmer. The legs should be completely covered, so top up with olive oil if needed. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 2 hrs 30 mins.

Step 4:

To check whether the duck is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of a leg – it should go in easily. Leave the duck to cool in the fat. Can now be chilled for up to 2 weeks. While the duck cools, make the Puy lentils & pancetta (see Goes well with, right).

Step 5:

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lift the duck legs from the dish, scrape off the fat and place, skin-side up, in a shallow roasting tin.

Step 6:

Spoon 1 tbsp honey over each duck leg and roast for 25-30 mins until the skin is browned and sticky. Serve with the Puy lentils & pancetta.