Warm Salad of Duck Confit, Butter Beans and Grilled Chorizo on Wilted Spinach and Roast Sweet Potato

With Cape Gooseberries

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Preparation info

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By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

This salad is definitely one for the autumn and winter. The flavours are earthy and the ingredients rich – it’s salad as comfort food. Duck confit is best described as duck cooked in its own fat, which may sound a bit much, but it is, in fact, a delicious moist product. The duck is cooked very slowly over several hours, rendering it tender and juicy. Once it’s reheated in the oven it becomes ‘fall off the bone’ delicious, which is handy as you do want to take it off the bone. You should be able to buy duck confit from a French deli or larger supermarkets.

To make this salad even more convenient to knock up, I used a jar of jumbo plump Spanish butter beans, which are also rich and satisfying, and vacuum-packed whole chestnuts. The cape gooseberries add a tart note as you bite into them and the brandy dressing gives an aroma that, combined with the rest of the ingredients, really makes this a meal to enjoy when it’s cold outside.


  • 2 medium-to-large sweet potatoes (I used New Zealand kumara, which were fantastic), unpeeled and sliced into 2 cm thick rounds
  • salt
  • 4 duck confit legs
  • 500 g spinach
  • 250 g chorizo sausages, suitable for cooking, sliced at an angle 1 cm thick
  • 150 g chestnuts (use vacuum-packed ones)
  • 200 g (drained weight) cooked butter beans
  • 3–4 good slugs of brandy (or try a good dark rum or whisky)
  • large handful of cape gooseberries (physalis fruits)


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas 4, and line a large roasting dish with baking parchment. Place the sweet potato slices in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until you can almost poke a wooden skewer through. Carefully lift them out of the water and let rest on a plate.

Place the duck, skin side up, in the lined roasting dish with any of the fat that may be clinging to it and roast for 20 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the sweet potato slices and season them well.

While these are cooking, blanch the spinach and drain – don’t refresh.

Heat a wide frying pan and add the chorizo, trying to keep it in one layer so that it cooks evenly. Once the slices have coloured on one side, turn them over and colour on the other side, then move to one side of the pan and add the chestnuts. Sauté these to colour them lightly, then add the butter beans and brandy, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the spinach to the pan and toss everything together.

To Serve

Divide the roasted sweet potato between 4 plates and sit the spinach salad on top. Turn the duck legs over and pull the bones out from the leg – there will be the thigh bone, the leg bone and, occasionally, a smaller bone that doesn’t always come out with the other two. If you don’t want to eat the skin, then flip the leg back the other way and peel it off – it should come away easily. Otherwise, just pull the leg apart into chunks and lay these on the salad. Tuck the gooseberries into the salad and serve while still warm.