Confit duck leg with flageolet ragoût and celeriac mash

This hearty French cassoulet is anything but healthy – and all the more tasty for it. Make to brighten up a winter day.


For the duck
  • 4 duck legs
  • approx 15g table salt (you will need 15g/½oz salt per kilo of duck legs)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 300g/11oz duck fat
  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 200g/7oz tinned tomatoes
  • 400g/14oz tinned flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200ml/7fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g/2oz butter
For the celeriac mash
  • 500g/1lb 2oz floury potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 500g/1lb 2oz celeriac, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • 110ml/4fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation method

  1. For the duck, weigh the duck legs. You will need 15g/½oz of salt per kilo of duck legs. Place the duck legs into a roasting tray and sprinkle with the salt. Sprinkle over the thyme, then cover the tray with cling film and chill in the fridge overnight.

  2. Heat a heavy frying pan over a low to medium heat, then add the duck legs to the pan and cover them completely in the duck fat.

  3. Bring the duck fat to a gentle simmer and cook the duck legs gently for 2-2½ hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the duck legs from the fat, reserving the fat, and place onto a clean roasting tray, draining off any excess fat.

  4. Shred the meat from two of the confit duck legs. Set the other two aside.

  5. Heat a little of the reserved duck fat in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

  6. Add the canned tomatoes, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

  7. Add the shredded duck meat, flageolet beans, stock and rosemary and return the mixture to the boil. Boil for another 2-3 minutes, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then whisk in the butter.

  8. Heat a little more of the reserved duck fat in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the reserved duck legs, skin-side down, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the duck meat is warmed through.

  9. Meanwhile, for celeriac mash, place the potatoes and celeriac into a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well and return to the pan to steam over the heat for one minute.

  10. Pass the cooked potatoes and celeriac through a ricer (or mash with a potato masher) until smooth, then return to the pan. Add the butter and cream and mix well, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  11. To serve, pile some of the celeriac mash onto each of two serving plates, then spoon the ragoût alongside. Top each portion with a crispy confit duck leg.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

Over 2 hours preparation time

Over 2 hours cooking time

Serves 2

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