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Red duck leg curry, confit shallots and thai basil

Red duck leg curry, confit shallots and thai basil
Recipe by Teage Ezard

Serves 6

Braised duck legs
2kg duck legs
2 litres Asian chicken stock, see recipe
300g yellow rock sugar
250ml Shao Xing wine
300ml light soy 

Red curry
200ml coconut milk
2 cups red curry paste, see recipe
300g palm sugar, grated
200ml fish sauce
1.2 litres coconut cream
300ml lime juice
2 red birds eye chillis, finely sliced if you like it hot
1 cup thai basil, picked

Confit shallots
300g shallots, peeled
750ml vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C. To braise the duck legs, place a large heavy based fry pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot place the duck legs in and turn the pan down to low and gently seal them to a nice golden brown, this also renders the fat down on the legs. Place a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the chicken stock, yellow rock sugar, shao xing wine, and the light soy and bring up to the boil. Once sealed place the duck legs into a braising dish, pour the stock over the top, put a lid on it then place in to the oven for 2.5 hours. When the duck legs are cooked the meat will fall of the bone when you pick it up, so you need to use a slotted spoon to pick the duck legs out and don't let them fall apart. They need to be placed on a cooling rack with a tray to cool completely. Store the duck legs in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the coconut milk and place on to a medium heat. Cook the coconut milk until it splits and turns to oil. Use a wooden spoon or spatula and scrape the bottom otherwise it will stick and burn. Be careful as it tends to spit and it will burn. Once the coconut milk has split and turns golden brown, it is ready to add the curry paste. The curry will take about 45 minutes to cook on a slow to medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Once you can smell the star anise, and lemongrass coming through strongly, add the palm sugar. The paste will take another 30 minutes to caramelize with the sugar. It is ready when you start to see orange oils coming out of the paste. Add three tablespoons of fish sauce and then the coconut cream and give it a light whisk. Bring to a gentle simmer slowly. Once it simmers, remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Place the vegetable oil in a wok with the shallots and place it on to a low to medium heat. The shallots will take about 40 minutes to cook and the oil should just tick over. Then take the shallots out of the oil and place on a tray on the side. Leave the oil in the wok as the duck legs will be fried in it.

4. To assemble the dish, take the duck legs out of the fridge and let them come up to room temperature for about 25 minutes before using. Put the red curry back on to a medium heat and warm slowly. Place the wok of oil over a medium flame and bring up to about 170C. Place the duck legs into the oil gently and fry them off for 2 -3 minutes. They will come out crispy and golden brown. Place them on to a tray lined with paper towels. Add the lime juice, the remaining fish sauce and the confit shallots to the curry.

5. To serve, place two duck legs in the centre of each plate then place 4 -5 shallots around the duck. Spoon over the curry, try and cover all of the duck legs.Tear up some of the thai basil and sprinkle over the top.