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Leg of Duck Confit with Cassis Gastric and Herbed Polenta

Chef Lau Young,
Provence Bistro

According to Chef Lau, the origin of the name “duck confit” comes from the French word “confiture”, which means preserved fruit or jam. Traditionally, the French would preserve the duck in a cool space in its own fat for up to 5 to 6 months, giving it an extremely rich flavour.

Ingredients
Duck
4 pieces duck legs, rinsed well and dried
1/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt, as needed
1 1/2-2 litres duck fat, melted
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
6 fresh thyme sprigs

Cassis Gastric
1 3/4 cups cassis syrup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 Tbsp minced ginger
1/4 Tbsp lemon zest
1 3/4 cups cassis berries

Polenta
5 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Duck
1.  In a container, season duck legs well with salt. Cover with plastic wrap. Top with smaller container and weigh container down with a clean brick or canned goods. Let duck legs cure for at least 24 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 275˚F.
3.  Dry off duck legs with paper towel. In a deep pan or pot, place duck legs and scatter garlic cloves and thyme sprigs into pan. Pour just enough duck fat to cover duck legs.
4.  Place duck legs in oven and cook for 1-2 hours until they are tender and the meat pulls away slightly from bone. Ensure that the fat gently simmers but does not boil.
5.  Remove duck from oven and carefully remove duck legs from fat. Place on strainer. Strain fat and keep for future use.
6.  Preheat oven to 500˚F.
7.  On an oven proof pan, place duck legs separately. Cook until skin is crisp (approximately 15 minutes).

Cassis Gastric
1.  In a saucepan, add cassis syrup, vinegar, sugar, ginger and lemon zest. Bring to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer until liquid becomes syrupy and can coat the back of a spoon.
3.  Add berries into sauce for service.

Polenta
1.  In a pot, at high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil.
2.  In a second pot, over medium heat, add olive oil, shallots and garlic. Sweat ingredients for approximately 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
3.  Add 4 cups chicken stock to shallot mix and bring to a simmer. Remove pot from heat and whisk in cornmeal. Return pot to heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until cornmeal comes away from sides of pot.
4.  Stir in basil, parsley and butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. If polenta is too thick, stir in remaining boiled chicken stock.

To serve
1.  Spoon polenta into each bowl. Place duck atop polenta and surround with caramelized onions and cassis gastric. Top with wilted spinach.

Yield  4 servings

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