Slow-roast duck legs with bacon and onions Prep 10 min Cook 2 hr 15 min Serves 4For the duck legs 4 duck legs Salt and black pepper 150g lardons 80g button onions or shallots, peeled and left whole ½ bunch sage, leaves picked 225ml dry marsala 100ml water 2 bay leaves
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan) gas 5. Choose a casserole or baking dish that will fit the duck legs in a single layer. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper and put in the casserole or a frying pan skin side down. Put the pan on a medium heat but do not add any oil to the pan – the duck should let out enough of its own fat to fry itself. Brown the legs well on both sides then remove from the pan.
Add the lardons to the pan and fry until golden and crisp. Then add the onions and fry until they too are golden. Sprinkle in the sage leaves and let them soak up the remaining fat, and fry for a minute or two. Add the marsala and water to the pan and boil for two minutes.
Pour off any excess fat so you are left with about two or three tablespoons still in the pan (it’s important to leave some fat as it adds flavour).
Put the duck legs back in the casserole skin side up, along with the bay leaves. If using a baking dish, then transfer all of the ingredients to this now. Cover snugly with a piece of grease-proof paper (or cover with foil if using a baking dish). Put in the oven and bake for an hour and a half.
Check the legs after this time: they should be cooked through and yielding. Put a skewer through the thigh and gently twist – the flesh should ease away from the bone. If they are still a little tough, then return to the oven for another half an hour.
Increase the oven temperature to 200C (180C fan)/gas 6.Remove the lid/foil and cartouche and put the casserole back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the duck skin is crisp and golden. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Serve the duck with the peas and buttered, seasoned jersey royals. Ensure that everyone gets some bacon, onions and gravy on their plate.
Braised peas and lettuce Prep 10 min Cook 25 min Serves 4 4 heads little gem lettuce 1 bunch spring onions 40g unsalted butter 500g fresh or frozen peas (shelled weight if using fresh) Salt and black pepper 1 splash sherry vinegar 1 small bunch of curly parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
Remove the outer leaves of the little gem if they look ragged, and discard. Split the gems in half lengthways and swill around in water to wash them Peel back the outer layer of the spring onions, trim the bases and roughly chop.
In a lidded pan that will hold the gem in one layer, melt 25g of the butter and sweat the spring onions on a gentle heat for five minutes to soften them. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Very lightly brown the gem halves cut side down in the fat. Turn right side up and scatter over the spring onions and peas. Give the pan a little shake so everything nestles in together, and season.
Pour in three tablespoons of water. Put a lid on top and put on a high heat for two minutes to get things going. Then reduce the heat right down and allow the peas and lettuce to braise slowly. Check the pan every so often to make sure it is not boiling dry – add extra water if this is the case.
After about 20 minutes, the peas should be cooked and sweet. Stir in the remaining butter and add a small splash of sherry vinegar. Bubble for a minute then remove from the heat. Check the seasoning and finally, sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with buttered, seasoned jersey royals.