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Edinburgh Evening News 48 - Confit Duck Leg Ballotine, Poached Jerusalem Artichoke, Garlic Croutons

Last week I spoke about how useful it is to choose recipes that can be prepared in advance when entertaining guests. It really reduces stress levels and allows you more time to enjoy your visitors’company. This week I am sharing another recipe that can be fully prepared ahead of time, confit duck leg ballotine, poached Jerusalem artichoke, garlic croutons. This works as either a starter or a light lunch.

As I mentioned before, duck is a meat that should be carefully chosen and I really do recommend going for the best quality that you can afford – the taste and succulence of the end product will be proof that it was money well spent. Picking and rolling the duck means that it will go further. The confit process guarantees soft, tender and moist meat. An addition of vinegar to the ballotine adds a sharpness which cuts through the rich fattiness of the duck. This balanced mix of textures and flavours is sure to impress!

Serves 4


For the duck ballotine:

3 duck legs, I use Gartmorn Farm free range duck

1/2 a bunch of thyme

1/2 a bulb of garlic, skin on

2 bay leaves

200ml rapeseed oil

100g walnuts, toasted in a hot oven

Generous pinch chopped tarragon

2 large banana shallots, finely diced

25ml sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar


For the poached Jerusalem artichoke:

3 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

100ml chicken stock

50g butter

1 stalk of tarragon

For the garlic croutons:

100ml rapeseed oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed but with the skin on

2-3 slices of your favourite bread, cut into ½ cm dice


For the duck ballotine:

 Preheat the oven to 120C

 Cover the duck legs, thyme, garlic and bay leaves with the oil in a deep baking tray

 Place greaseproof paper over the tray and wrap tinfoil around the whole lot

 Place in the oven for 2 hours

 Allow the duck legs to cool for a least half an hour or until they are cold enough to handle

 Pick all of the meat from duck legs into a mixing bowl and discard the bones

 Add the walnuts, tarragon, chopped shallots, vinegar and a generous pinch salt

 Mix all the of ingredients together

 In a large piece of clingfilm, roll the mixture tightly into a sausage shape

 Tie the ends of this ballotine securely

 Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours

 When you are ready to serve, cut the ballotine into slices and remove the clingfilm

For the poached Jerusalem artichoke:

 Add all of the ingredients to a pan

 Poach gently till tender this should take about 10-12 minutes

 Keep an eye on the pan, if the liquid evaporates, top it up with some water

For the garlic croutons:

 Add half of the oil to a pot with the garlic

 Place over a gentle heat until the garlic starts to brown

 Remove from heat and add the rest of the oil

 Allow to cool

 Pass through a sieve, reserving the oil

 Fry the bread cubes in the garlic oil, moving the pan at all times till they are golden brown

 Drain through a sieve and reserve the oil as this can be used again

 Drain the croutons on kitchen paper and season with salt

Serve slices of the ballotine in the centre of the plates and sprinkle the croutons and artichoke

around. I serve this dish with baby herbs and puffed pork skin, these are optional but delicious extras.


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