Crispy duck confit

Paul Rankin, from top Belfast eatery Cayenne, shares his recipe for an Asian-inspired crispy duck
By Paul Rankin
Crispy duck confit
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1-2
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 24 hours marinating
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 duck legs
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 heads garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground star anise
  • 4 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 600 ml rendered duck fat, coarsely chopped
  • 150 ml duck stock

For the sauce

  • duck fat, for frying
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 150 duck stock
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 honey
  • 1 hoi sin sauce
  • 1 dried red chilli flakes
  • soy sauce

To serve

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped


1. Put the duck legs in a non-reactive dish and scatter over the ginger, garlic, peppercorns, ground star anise and salt. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. Put the chopped duck fat and stock into a medium, heavy-based saucepan and simmer for approximately 2 hours until the fat looks clear. Strain the fat into a clean saucepan.

3. Rinse the excess spices off the marinated legs, removing the salt as well. Put the legs into the strained duck fat. (If the fat does not completely cover the legs, top it up with groundnut oil, chicken fat, or tinned duck fat.) Simmer the legs very slowly for 11/2 hours or until they are very tender.

4. Allow the legs to cool in the fat.

5. For the sauce: heat a little duck fat in a heavy-based pan and sweat the shallots and ginger until lightly brown. Add the stock, star anise, honey, hoisin sauce and chilli flakes and simmer until the stock has reached a sauce consistency. Correct the seasoning with soy sauce and, if needed, salt.

6. When you are ready to serve, crisp up the duck legs by placing them underneath the grill, skin-side up. (You can also roast them, skin-side down, in a heavy ovenproof skillet in a hot (200C/gas 6) oven for 5 minutes.)

7. To serve, arrange the cucumber ribbons on warmed plates, set the confit legs on top, scatter with spring onions and surround with a little sauce.

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