Duck is an often overlooked meat when cooking at home, but this simple recipe from nutritional guru Amelia Freer is a great introduction for anyone keen to extend their culinary skills. The naturally high levels of healthy fats in the duck meat add a deep, rich flavour to this casserole, balanced perfectly by the freshness of the fennel. Time to dig out the Le Creuset…
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 duck legs
- 1 sweet fennel teabag (try Twinings)
- A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced, plus extra to serve
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 carrot, scrubbed and slicedin half lengthways
- 1 onion, halved and studded with a clove
- 1 dried chilli
- 1 bay leaf
- Peel of ½ an orange
- 240ml filtered water
- 2 x 400g tins of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
- 2 bulbs of fennel, halved
- 1 bag of cavolo nero
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas Mark 3.
Step 2: Pan fry the duck legs for 10 minutes, turning regularly (or until they’re golden on both sides). Put the duck legs, fennel teabag, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion, chilli, bay leaf, orange peel and water into a cast iron casserole dish and cook in the oven with the lid on for an hour and a half. Take the lid off and bake for another 30 minutes.
Step 3: Once cooked, remove and discard the vegetables and flavourings, so that you’re left with just the duck and its juices. At this point you could take out the duck legs, shred the meat off the bone and put it back in the stew, or you could just leave the legs whole.
Step 4: Put the casserole dish over a medium heat, add the cannellini beans and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the halved fennel bulbs and cavolo nero. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove and drain.
Step 5: Season the casserole to taste with salt and pepper, and add some raw ginger right at the end for extra spice if you like. Sprinkle with a little chopped fresh parsley.
Step 6: Serve the duck and beans immediately with the blanched fennel and cavolo nero.
Wine expert Jane Parkinson recommends Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2014 (£12.50, winedirect.co.uk)
Malbec rules in Argentina and is great with rich meat. This has gorgeous violet aromas, while the juicy cherry and plum flavours complement the duck. Plus, its freshness allows the ginger, cavolo nero and parsley to shine through.