Duck, chickpeas & fennel
- Salt the duck legs all over generously and leave to one side for at least 5 minutes.
- Heat an oven suitable heavy bottomed pan to medium on your hob.
- Place the duck legs in, skin side down. Allow the duck legs fat to render and crisp before moving. This could take up to 6-8 minutes.
- Turn the duck legs over and give them just a minute or two on the other side. Lift them out onto a plate, keeping all the fat that rendered out in the pan.
- Add the onions, garlic, carrots and fennel seeds, and chilli if using, to the pan and stir will to coat in the duck fat.
- Place a lid on the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onions are well cooked and the carrots are starting to lose their bite. Moisten the pan with small splashes of water as you go if it's browning too much or sticking.
- Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Stir, cover again with the lid, cook, stirring frequently until the tomatoes have completely relaxed and given up their structure.
- Meanwhile pop your fan oven on 180 deg C and make yourself a nice beverage. Now add the chickpeas and their liquid to the pan and stir well.
- Fill the empty chickpea tin with water and add that to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning.
- Once happy with the taste nestle the duck legs back in the pot -skin side up. Don't submerge them. You want the meat submerged on the bottom but some of the skin above the liquid. Like hippos in a mud bath.
- Now put the pan, uncovered, into the oven for 20 minutes.
- Turn down the oven to 150 deg C and leave for another 30 minutes. Check occasionally to see there's still a good amount of liquid left. Top up if necessary.
- Take from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This is important. It will let everything relax and become juicy again.
- Serve with crusty bread and good company.
- You could make this dish ahead up to step 10 (putting the duck legs into the tomato & chickpea stew) - just chill the duck and stew until you're ready to finish.
- You'll only need another 10 mins or so from here. Just pop the tomato & chickpea stew back on the hob and bring up to a simmer before putting in the oven. An easy dish for an effortless Autumn evening with your mates.
- You could experiment with other canned beans too like butter or cannelini beans.
- Wilted kale or cabbage would go very nicely on the side. A green salad with mustardy dressing would be a good addition otherwise.