Jammy figs contrast with the richness of duck in this recipe by Ed Smith. Roasted or mashed butternut squash makes a lovely accompaniment.
- CourseMain meal
- Prepare15 mins
- Cook2 hrs 30 mins
- Total time2 hrs 45 mins
Preheat the oven to 160 °C, gas mark 3; bring a full kettle to the boil. Put the duck in a roasting tin or high-sided ovenproof dish. Arrange the garlic, thyme and star anise around the legs, sprinkle over the salt, then pour over enough boiling water to cover the meat (1-1.5 litres). Cover with a scrunched sheet of baking parchment; roast for 1½–2 hours until very tender. Transfer the legs to a shallower roasting tin, skin-side up, reserving 5tbsp braising liquid. (Leave the remainder to cool and separate. Freeze the liquid for soups and stews; the fat will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is great for roast potatoes.)
Increase the oven temperature to 230ºC, gas mark 8. Add the chicory to the tin, cut-side up. Brush the chicory with the oil and roast for 15 minutes, then add the figs, cut-side up, between the duck legs and chicory. Drizzle each fig with sherry and add the reserved braising liquid to the tin, immersing the chicory in it.
Return the tin to the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the duck is crisp, the chicory charred and soft, and the figs squidgy but still intact. Transfer the duck and figs to plates. Add the vinegar to the liquid in the tin, stir, toss the chicory in the sauce, then serve.