Confit Duck Leg with Penne, Spinach & Tomato

by Galton Blackiston

Main Medium ​​​​​​​ 6 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes, plus marinating and confit time

INGREDIENTS

CONFIT DUCK LEGS
6 duck legs

1.5l duck fat, or goose fat

MARINADE
1 tbsp of sea salt

1 tsp peppercorns, cracked

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 sprig of thyme

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp five-spice powder, Cantonese

1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

OVEN-BAKED TOMATOES
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

55ml of sunflower oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, grated

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 tbsp of vinegar

1 pinch of brown sugar

salt

pepper

SAUCE
500ml of dark chicken stock, as needed

2 tbsp of double cream

1 dash of Marsala wine

1 dash of rapeseed oil

75g of girolles, finely sliced

75g of ceps, finely sliced

1 tbsp of tarragon, chopped

salt

freshly ground black pepper

PENNE PASTA
600g of penne pasta

salt

SAUTÉED SPINACH WITH SPRING ONIONS (POUSSE EPINARD)
50g of salted butter

1 1/4 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped

525g of baby spinach, washed

salt

pepper

METHOD

1. To begin, mix all of the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the duck legs. Place in a dish, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate overnight, or for at least 6 hours

2. Preheat the oven to 120°C/gas mark 1/2

3. To prepare the tomatoes, mix all of the ingredients together, then spread them evenly over a large baking tray

4. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 1 hour, by which time the moisture will have evaporated and the tomatoes will have started to dry out a little and intensify in colour. Set aside until ready to prepare the pasta bake

5. After the legs have finished curing, remove from the marinade and carefully dry off with kitchen paper

6. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2

7. Heat a dry frying pan until hot, press the duck legs into it skin-side down. Fry until the skin is well coloured, then turn the legs over and quickly brown the other side

8. Place the browned duck legs in a roasting tin large enough to hold them in one layer. Cover completely with the duck or goose fat – it is essential that the legs are fully submerged in the fat

9. Bring the fat to trembling point on the hob, cover with foil and very carefully place into the preheated oven

10. Slowly cook the duck legs for about 2 hours until tender. You can test this by carefully lifting one out with a slotted spoon – the meat should easily start to fall away when you press it

11. When the legs are cooked, leave to cool in the fat for 20–30 minutes and very carefully remove and set on a trivet or wire rack in a roasting tin to drain. As soon as the duck legs are cool enough to handle, ‘pull’ the meat from the bone and set aside somewhere warm

12. Strain the cooled duck fat through a fine sieve and keep for another dish; it is especially good for roasting potatoes or making more confit

13. To make the sauce, reduce the chicken stock by half before stirring in the cream and Marsala. Set aside

14. When ready to serve the dish, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6

15. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the penne and cook for a few minutes less than is indicated on the box – it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain thoroughly

16. Meanwhile, finish the sauce. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add a splash of rapeseed oil and add the mushrooms. Very quickly fry and add these to the sauce, making sure everything is heated right through. Add the chopped tarragon and check the seasoning

17. To make the spinach, heat the saucepan until very hot and add the butter, it should foam immediately. At this point, add the spring onions, then the spinach, and season well. Treat the spinach as if you were stir-frying it and cook until it just starts to wilt. Remove from the heat and serve immediately

18. Spread the sautéed spinach over the base of a suitable large serving dish. Combine the ‘pulled’ duck meat with the cooked pasta and the sauce and spread over the top of the spinach

19. Dot the tomatoes over the pasta and place in the preheated oven, cooking until everything is heated right through. Serve immediately