Confit duck leg, wood-fired red cabbage, mustard, orange

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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

Cooking product in duck fat is the most decadent thing you can do. It gives great flavour but is not the healthiest. Everything in moderation, they say.


Duck leg

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

Braised cabbage

  • 2 whole large red cabbages
  • olive oil
  • salt

Mustard seed cream

  • 100 ml beef jus
  • 130 ml cream
  • 10 g whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper

Brûléed orange segments

  • 24 orange segments
  • lime zest – to finish


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, covered with duck fat 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, and French trim the leg bones to serve.

Dress the cabbages with olive oil and salt. Wrap in foil and place in a wood-fired oven. Alternatively, place in the oven at 180°C. Roast for 4 hours until soft all the way through. Remove the foil and cut 60 g wedges from the cabbage. When serving, return to the wood fire or dry pan to colour.

In a pot, heat the beef jus. Add the cream and warm through. Reduce gently to coating consistency. Add the mustard, season with salt and pepper to taste, and reserve.

Place the orange segments on a tray. Blowtorch the segments until slightly blackened – or simply serve them fresh.

Assemble by following the photo, or as you like. Place a 60 g wedge of red cabbage on each plate. Top with a French-trimmed duck leg and 3 orange segments. Drizzle with 30 ml mustard seed cream and 7 g pickled mustard seeds, sprinkle with orange dust and finish with lemon zest.