Slow-cooked duck with duck fat chips and gravy

Main courses

  • Serves: 2
  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 2 hours
Stroll through the gardens and marvel at the majesty of the south fountain © Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (National Trust) Photo: Barry Keen

Stroll through the gardens and marvel at the majesty of the south fountain

Ingredients

1 large Aylesbury duck

For the duck legs and peas

  • 1 whole star anise
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp rock salt
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 litre/1 pint 15fl oz duck fat
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 large banana shallots, peeled, finely diced
  • knob of butter
  • 500g/1lb ½ oz cooked peas
  • 100ml/3½fl oz brown chicken stock, or beef stock
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, finely sliced
  • 20 fresh mint leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 punnet pea shoots, to serve

For the duck breasts

  • 3 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 50g/1¾ oz unsalted butter

For the duck gravy

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled, chopped into 3cm/1¼in pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped into 3cm/1¼in pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled, chopped into 3cm/1¼in pieces
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half
  • 150g/5¼ oz clear honey
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 litres/3 pints 10fl oz brown chicken stock
  • 500g/1lb½oz unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, juice only

For the chips

  • 15 large potatoes, cut into wedges using an apple corer
  • 5 litres/8 pints 16fl oz rendered duck fat, for deep frying

Method

Equipment: For this recipe, you will need a vacuum-pack machine and a temperature-controlled water bath.

Prepare the duck by removing the legs and wings and set aside. Take out the wishbone and remove any excess fat and skin. Remove the back bone to leave the crown (keep the bones for the duck gravy).

For the duck legs and peas:

  1. For the duck legs and peas, preheat the oven to 130C/270F/Gas ½ .
  2. Tie the star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and fennel seeds up in a piece of muslin cloth.
  3. Place the reserved duck legs, rock salt, bay leaves and muslin bag of spices into a lidded pan and cover with the duck fat.
  4. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid and roast in the oven for 3-3½ hours, or until the duck is tender. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the duck breasts:

  1. Meanwhile for the duck breasts, score the skin on the duck crown and rub in the ground mace.
  2. Fry the duck crown in a pan, skin-side down, until the fat has rendered out and the skin is crisp and golden-brown. Remove the duck crown from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. Place the duck crown into a vacuum pack bag, seal with the vacuum pack machine and place into a water bath set at 62C/144F for 1½ hours.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Remove the duck breasts from the crown and fry, skin-side down for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Add the honey and butter to the pan and turn the duck breasts over until covered in the honey mixture. Remove the duck breasts from the pan and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, continue to cook the honey mixture until it caramelises and pour over the duck breasts. Keep warm.

For the duck gravy:

  1. For the duck gravy, preheat the oven to 180C/356F/Gas 4.
  2. Chop the reserved bones and place into a flameproof roasting tin; add the reserved wings and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the carrots for 5-10 minutes, or until almost black. Add the celery, onion and garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Remove the bones from the tray and add to the saucepan.
  5. Drain off any excess fat from the pan, add the honey and cloves and cook until the honey caramelises. Deglaze the pan with a little of the chicken stock.
  6. Add the remaining chicken stock to the pan and cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and skim off any excess fat.
  7. Measure 1 litre/1 pint 15¼fl oz of the gravy into a saucepan, add the butter and return the pan to the heat. Cook the gravy until emulsified and reduced slightly. Season, to taste, with lemon juice.

To finish the duck:

  1. Meanwhile, remove the duck legs from the fat and place, skin-side down, into an ovenproof frying pan. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin is crisp.
  2. Remove the duck legs from the pan and set aside; add the honey and continue to cook until the honey has caramelised. Pour the caramelised honey onto the duck legs and set aside to cool.
  3. Fry the shallots in the butter for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the peas, chicken stock, lettuce and mint. Flake the meat from the duck legs and add to the pan.
  4. Divide the duck leg and pea mixture between four small bowls or pots and garnish with the pea shoots.

For the duck fat chips:

  1. For the duck fat chips, blanch the chips in a pan of salted boiling water, for 4-5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
  2. Half-fill a deep, heavy-based saucepan with the duck fat and heat to 140C/284F (use a digital thermometer to check this). (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do no leave unattended.)
  3. Fry the chips for 8-10 minutes, or until the oil stops bubbling, which means that the moisture has been removed. Remove the chips from the oil and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Heat the oil to 180C/350F (use a digital thermometer to check this) and fry the chips for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Remove the chips from the oil, set aside to drain on kitchen paper and season to taste with salt.

To serve:

Slice the duck breasts into six slices lengthways and serve with the chips, duck legs and peas, and the gravy.