Duck, Pancetta and Haricot Beans with Gremolata
One of my favourite stalls at my local farmers’ market (off the A316 just before Chiswick Bridge, in London, on Sunday mornings) specializes in duck, chicken and seasonal feathered and furred game. I often buy duck legs and am always pleasantly surprised by how reasonable they are. The dense, rich meat is great for curries and richly flavoured soupy stews like this that simmer away for hours filling the house with wonderful smells. Serve with a fork and spoon, and crusty bread.
|140g||diced pancetta or thin rashers of rindless smoked streaky bacon|
|½ tbsp||olive oil|
|4||Gressingham duck legs|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|400g tin||chopped tomatoes|
|3 sprigs||of thyme|
|1 sprig||of rosemary|
|400g tin||haricot beans|
Peel, halve and finely chop the onions and 4 cloves of the garlic. If using, slice the bacon into lardons. Heat the oil in a spacious, heavy-bottomed, lidded pan and cook the pancetta or bacon until it is crisp and the fat has melted. Scoop it out of the pan and stir in the onions and garlic, adjusting the heat so that they soften and begin to colour.
Trim the excess skin from the duck legs. Season, then move the onion to the side of the pan and brown the duck. Return the pancetta or bacon to the pan, add the tomatoes, white wine and stock, with the herbs tied into a bundle, and simmer for 5 minutes while you peel and thickly slice the carrots. Put them into the pan, then turn the heat very low – a heat diffuser is a good idea here – and drape a sheet of baking parchment over the top, letting it touch the food and holding it in place with the lid. Cook for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the duck is so tender it could slide off the bone.
Rinse and drain the beans. To make the gremolata:remove the zest from half the lemon. Finely chop the parsley and the remaining garlic, then chop together the lemon zest, parsley and garlic. Mix it with the beans, then stir them into the pan. Let them heat through, and serve.