Confit duck leg, roast juices jelly, onion purée, savoury custard

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Preparation info

  • Serves 8

    main course portions
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About

Confit: to cook and preserve in its own fat ... The sous vide method of confit is the safest way to go. It is really controlled and most importantly, consistent. Confit of products gives such an intense flavour.


Duck leg

  • 4 ducks
  • 1 kg salt
  • 5 g thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 400 g duck fat
  • lemon zest – for serving

Onion shells

  • coarse salt
  • 8 whole baby onions

Baby onion halves

  • 16 reserved insides from the onion shell recipe

Duck jellies


Portion the duck legs from the whole ducks and reserve the remaining carcasses for later use in the Duck breast recipe. In a bowl, combine the salt, thyme, bay leaves and garlic to make the curing salt. In a tray, cover the duck legs with the curing salt and leave to cure for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, rinse the legs and pat dry with paper towels. Place the duck legs in a vacuum bag with the duck fat and vacuum seal. Sous vide the legs for 8 hours at 82°C. Alternatively, place the duck legs in an oven tray, cover with duck fat and roast at 130°C for 2½ hours. Once cooked, remove from the vacuum bags and place in a hinged hand-held braai grid (for easy turning). Grill over warm coals to render the fat from the skin. French trim the leg bones, and sprinkle with lemon zest when serving.

Line a tray with coarse salt and lay the baby onions on top. Roast at 180°C for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and discard the outermost layer. Slice the onions in half lengthways, using the outer petals for the shells. Reserve the insides of the onions.

To make the baby onion halves, take the reserved insides and place face down on the flat side and colour in a dry pan or on the grill.

Place the congealed liquid (left over in the vacuum bag after cooking the duck legs earlier) in a pot and heat to melt. Pour the liquid into a kidney tray sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Set the jelly in the fridge. Once set, cut 1 cm × 1 cm cubes from the tray to serve.

To assemble, place a duck leg sprinkled with lemon zest on each plate. Use a warm spoon to shape 3 onion purée quenelles (16 g) per plate. Arrange as per the photo or as you like. 2 baby onion shells and 2 halves, 2 piped dots (8 g) of savoury blue cheese custard and 3 squares duck jelly. Finish with a dusting of star anise powder and 30 ml beef jus.