<p>As I have mentioned before, when the opportunity comes to get the most delicious local duck meat, we usually buy at least three. I adore confit legs and I wanted to share the recipe for this delight for quite some time now. I usually use duck fat, but you can use any other also. This lovely dish is amazing and quick to prepare once you make the time to confit the duck legs over the weekend. The legumes stew is full of flavor, nutrients and goes great with confit duck legs or whole roasted duck. A wonderful combination of delicious, tender duck meat and light legumes stew. A beautiful autumn meal.</p>
In a bowl mix together salt, juniper berries, black peppercorns and bay leaves. Place the duck legs into a tray and cover with the salt mixture. Close the tray with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours. Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with cold water.
Duck leg confit
Rinse the salt off the duck legs and pat them dry. Heat a pot over a low to medium heat, add the fat and melt it completely. Bring the fat to 110° C / 230° F, add the duck legs, bay leaves and 2 or 3 juniper berries to the pot and make sure the legs are completely covered in fat.
Lower the heat and cook just below simmering point, uncovered, for about 2-2½ hours or until the duck legs are very tender, almost melting. The temperature of the duck legs should be around 85° C/190° F. Cool the duck legs to a room temperature before using.
You can save the legs completely covered in their cooking fat in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Buckwheat and lentil stew
Peel and finely dice onion, carrots and celery root. Set the pan over medium heat and add a spoon of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery root and fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Meanwhile peel and dice potatoes and drain soaked lentils.
Add the buckwheat to the pan and continue to fry for about 2 minutes. Then add the potatoes and the lentils, turn up the heat and keep stirring. Now add the balsamic vinegar and white wine. Once the wine has cooked into the buckwheat and lentils, add 600 ml of hot water. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium high and cook for 35 minutes or until buckwheat and lentils are tender and cooked.
For an extra kick add any leftover smoked bacon skin to the stew while cooking. It brings a nice smoky and meaty flavour to the stew.
Put the pan over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp of cooking fat. Add the chilled duck legs, skin side down, and fry for 5-7 minutes, basting every two minutes with hot cooking fat, or until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Meanwhile finish the stew with 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, add the beans and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cover the pan with a lid. Set aside for 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the stew into a plate and top each portion with a crispy duck leg.