Here, a confit duck leg with Toulouse cassoulet and cavolo nero. It's a warming, cosy dish, and just the thing as winter's cold starts to lick at Sunday afternoons.
2 duck legs
500g duck fat
2L white chicken stock
300g dried haricot beans
300g dried cannellini beans
2 sticks celery
4 plum tomatoes
12 cloves garlic
200g pancetta lardons
300g Toulouse sausage
300ml good quality white French wine
2 bay leaves
8 sprigs thyme
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
50 ml malt vinegar
500g cavolo nero
Fine salt to season
Veg oil for cooking
1. Both types of beans need to be soaked in 3 x their volume of water for 24 hours.
2. Salt the duck legs lightly for 4 hours, rinse off the salt and dry with a towel to ensure all excess water has been removed.
3. Melt the duck fat, pour into a heavy dish (ceramic or cast iron worsk well) - place in the duck legs, add 6 cloves garlic and 4 sprigs of thyme. Cover tightly with foil, bake at 140 degrees celsius for 4 hours.
4. Check for tenderness — the meat should just come away from the bone. Lift the legs out of the fat onto a flat metal tray lined with parchment, place another piece of paper on top, then another tray above with a small weight to press the legs slightly, and chill.
5. Chop the pancetta into lardons and the Toulouse sausage into 8mm thick slices.
6. Chop the vegetables into a small mirepoix size, the garlic finely sliced, make a bouquet garni with the peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme.
7. In a cast iron pot, add a little veg oil, brown off the pancetta and sausage slightly, remove from the dish, add the chopped vegetables except the tomatoes, cook until you a reach a medium caramelisation level, add the tomatoes, turn up the heat to evaporate some of the tomato juice, add the white wine and reduce by half.
8. Bring the chicken stock to the boil and add to the cooked vegetables, add the chopped, caramelised meat. Add the soaked, rinsed and drained beans and the weighed salt.
9. Bring to the boil, skim off any excess that comes to the top, add the bouquet garni and make a cartouche and place on top of the stew. Finally, place a foil lid on the dish and cook for 2-2.5 hours at 110 degrees Celsius. Check the beans to make sure they are tender and not hard, cook for longer if necessary.
10. Prepare the cavolo nero by stripping the tough centres of the leaves, then chop them in half to give you long strips of cabbage.
11. In a frying pan, heat a little veg oil, take the duck legs, in a medium heat pan, place the legs, skin side down and begin to crisp up the skin. When you start to see some colour, reheat the duck legs in the oven, still skin side down in the pan, for 10-12 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until hot
12. In a frying pan, heat some veg oil, high heat, cook the cabbage intensely, encouraging caramelisation until ¾ cooked. Add the vinegar and evaporate and season.
13. To serve, finely slice some flat leaf parsley, take a large ladle of cassoulet from the stew pot, ensuring you take some sauce also, place the crisp and hot duck leg on top, add some of the cooked cabbage to the side of the leg and finish with the fresh parsley.