Recipe: Duck cottage pie
Our recipe of the month for November is a big, comforting gem from Rick’s latest book, Secret France – Duck cottage pie (or parmentier de confit de canard). It’s the sort of dish you put down in the middle of table so everyone can dive in and enjoy with a glass of good red, or perhaps a beer.
Rick says: ‘Unctuous, filling and restorative, it has legendary status among the team of grape pickers at Auxey-Duresses in Burgundy.’
4 confit duck legs (Available in a tin from good supermarkets or you can make your own at home using the instructions below)
4 shallots, chopped
A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
175ml red wine
200ml chicken stock
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
800g potatoes, cut into 5cm chunks
100-125ml warm milk
150-200g Comté cheese, grated
Salt and black pepper
If you’re making your own confit duck legs at home, do so at least 24 hours before you want to serve this dish. Place one duck leg in the bottom of a deep plastic, glass or stainless-steel bowl, sprinkle with a little of the salt, turn it over, sprinkle with more salt and add another duck leg. Continue until you’ve used up the duck legs and the salt. Cover and leave in the fridge for 6 hours, turning the legs over halfway through. Don’t leave any longer or the duck will become too salty.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/Gas Mark 1. Rub the salt off the duck legs and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Bring the duck or goose fat to a gentle simmer in a casserole dish in which the duck legs will fit snugly. Add the legs, making sure they are completely submerged, cover and transfer the dish to the oven. Cook for 11/2 hours, then remove from the oven and leave to cool in the fat. Chill for at least 24 hours or until needed.
If you’ve got a tin of confit duck, begin the recipe here.
Warm the confit duck legs over a gentle heat to release the fat, then pour the fat into clean jam jars. You will need some for this dish, but save the rest for roasting potatoes another day.
Remove the skin from the duck legs and discard it or slice and roast as a nibble. Pull away the duck meat with a couple of forks and shred it, removing and discarding any bones and gristle.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the duck fat in a pan, add the shallots, thyme and plenty of black pepper. Allow the shallots to brown gently and once they are golden, add the wine and stock, then bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes, then add the duck meat and the chopped parsley. Stir and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 210°C/Fan 190°C. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20–25 minutes until tender. Drain them well, then add the warm milk and mash until smooth. Season with salt and a big pinch of black pepper.
Grease a baking dish measuring about 18 x 28cm with duck fat. Pile in the meat mixture, then cover with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake for about 25 minutes until heated through and browned on top.
Recipe from © Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019
Photo © James Murphy Photography