Slow roasted duck legs with rosemary and roasted rhubarb

PUBLISHED: 14:43 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:43 05 May 2017

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

StellanStephenson

What better way to confront culinary fatigue than with a rhubarb recipe?

Some years ago I went through strange phase in my cooking. I had enjoyed the steepest of learning curves, exposed to some of the most inventive and thought-provoking food which in turn influenced my own culinary output.

Then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall. Braising became boring. Roasting felt redundant. Pastry pointless. Looking back, I suppose I was bored. I needed to freshen things up, challenge myself anew.

So I decided I would only cook three course meals and that each course would feature the same ingredient. I know; far too much time on my hands...

Thyme featured successfully across three courses, as did pear. But my favourite had to be rhubarb, probably given that I love rhubarb more than at least two ex-girlfriends. The main course I did back then is one of the first dishes I now cook when rhubarb springs into season.

Rhubarb never fails to surprise me. It combines with things you never expect it to work with. I mean, who in their right mind would slow roast duck legs with rosemary and serve with roast rhubarb? Me. The sharp, acid sweetness of the rhubarb cuts the unctuous fattiness of the duck. The perfect dish for those not quite warm enough spring Sundays...

Ingredients

serves 4

4 duck legs, skin on

a big bunch of rosemary

4 garlic cloves

1 glass medium sweet white wine

8 peppercorns

salt

pepper

6 stalks of rhubarb, 5 chopped into 1” chunks, the remaining stalk chopped into a fine dice

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C. In a casserole dish lay the rosemary, the gently crushed garlic and the peppercorns. Prick the duck legs all over with a fork and lay on top of the rosemary. Season well.

Pop into the oven for 20 minutes, uncovered before turning the heat down to 160C. Cover the casserole.

Let it cook for an hour before adding the 1” chunks of rhubarb. Take the legs out before adding the rhubarb so that the duck always remains on top. Cook for a further 45 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Take the duck legs out, cover and rest. Drain off most of the fat which will have rendered off the legs and remove the rosemary. Place the casserole on the hob and add the wine. Reduce the wine down, crushing the garlic and then adding the diced rhubarb after a few minutes. Serve the duck legs with a lick of sauce...

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