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