Confit of duck with blood orange and fennel salad

Confit of duck with blood orange and fennel salad

A Year In My Kitchen

Of all the preserving methods, a good confit maintains the natural flavour of the meat most truly and keeps it succulent. If prepared correctly, the meat is not salty in taste. The best way to eat confit of duck is pan-fried or fast-roasted until crispy. Here, I serve it with a simple, yet beautiful blood orange and fennel salad. It works equally as well with a parsnip purée and a simple jus reduction.


Quantity Ingredient
1 small bunch thyme, roughly chopped, leaves only
4 bay leaves, chopped
10 peppercorns, crushed
8 juniper berries, crushed
45g sea salt
6 duck legs

To confit

Quantity Ingredient
1.75kg duck or goose fat, (ask your butcher)
1/4 bunch thyme
4 bay leaves


Quantity Ingredient
2 blood oranges
1 fennel bulb
bunch dandelion leaves
bunch rocket
small bunch chervil
bunch bull’s blood or ruby chard
1 head treviso


Quantity Ingredient
1 blood orange, juiced
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
100ml walnut oil


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and salt. Scatter half of the mixture over the base of a shallow dish. Lay the duck legs side by side and fat side down in the dish, then scatter the remaining mixture over the top. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2 days.
  2. Pour off any liquid that has accumulated in the dish, then return to the fridge for a further 2 days. Remove from the fridge and rinse the duck legs under cold running water, then gently pat dry.
  3. To confit, very gently heat the duck or goose fat in a large heavy-based pan with the thyme and bay leaves. When the fat has melted and become translucent, add the duck legs and bring to a low simmer. Turn down the heat and cook very, very slowly for about 21/2 hours. When the skin slips off the shin and the bone is exposed, you know that the duck is ready.
  4. Remove from the heat and leave the duck to cool in the fat. When completely cool, carefully transfer the duck legs to a very clean earthenware pot. Reheat the fat in the pan, then pour it over the duck legs, making sure they are totally submerged. Allow to cool, then store in the fridge until ready to eat.
  5. When you are ready to eat the confit, carefully remove the duck legs from the fat and set aside to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 240°C.
  6. For the salad, peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the pith as well as the skin. Slice into fine pinwheels and carefully prise out any pips. Slice the base off the fennel bulb and remove the fibrous outer layer, then cut the fennel into very fine slices. Wash the salad leaves, pat dry and combine in a salad bowl.
  7. To make the dressing, whisk the blood orange juice, sherry vinegar and mustard together in a bowl to combine and season with a little salt and pepper. Whisk in the walnut oil to make a vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Place the duck legs, skin side down, in a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan (or sturdy roasting pan) with 1–2 tbsp of the fat. Warm them gently over a low heat until the fat melts, then transfer to the hot oven. Roast for 15 minutes or until crisp, turning the duck legs once halfway through cooking.
  9. Meanwhile, dress the salad leaves lightly with the dressing, then add the fennel and orange slices and gently toss through. Drain the duck confit on kitchen paper to absorb any fat. Serve warm, with the blood orange and fennel salad.


  • ‘Confit’ is an ancient preserving technique – usually applied to duck, rabbit or pork. To prepare a confit, the meat is first salted and laid down for a few days, then rinsed, dried and cooked gently in fat. After cooling, it can be stored for several months in the fridge.
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