This dinner party recipe is one that will really impress your guests - duck is such a rich meat and is perfect when paired with pancetta.
- For the duck confit:
- 4 duck legs
- 150g coarse sea salt
- 1 head of garlic, separated into cloves
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
- 4tbsp brandy
- 500-700g duck fat
- For the pancetta lentils:
- 150g cubed pancetta
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 250g cooked Puy lentils
- 1 chicken stock pot (such as Knorr)
- flat-leaf parsley to serve
Rub the duck legs with the salt, plenty of black pepper, one crushed garlic clove, half the thyme and the bay leaves. Pack tightly into a dish, skin side down, then add the brandy. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
Heat the oven to 150C, gas 2. Scrape the marinade off the duck legs. Heat the duck or goose fat in a heavy, ovenproof casserole dish, then add the duck, the remaining garlic cloves and the remaining thyme. The duck legs should be completely submerged in the melted fat. Cover then cook in the oven for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool uncovered.
At this point, you can freeze the duck legs for up to 3 months. Alternatively, strain the fat, pack the duck legs tightly into a dish then pour over the fat. This acts to preserve it for up to 1 month in the fridge.
When you’re ready to serve, take the duck out of the fat or thaw it overnight in the fridge. Heat the oven to 200C, gas 6. Put the duck on a roasting tin and cook for about 40 minutes until piping hot and the skin is brown and crispy.
For the lentils, cook the cubed pancetta until lightly browned. Add 2 carrots, peeled and diced, and 2 onions, chopped, for 10 minutes, until softened. Add 250g cooked Puy lentils,1 chicken stock pot (such as Knorr) and 150ml water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes, stir in some chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with the duck.