Serves: 6
Difficulty: Medium

Author Regina von Planta lives on a small farm in the Ardèche countryside where she writes about the people and food of the region. You may associate cottage pie with all things British but Regina’s recipe uses classic French ingredients such as duck thighs, fennel and garlic, adding a delicious Gallic twist to this popular winter staple.


  • 4 duck thighs
  • 300g sweet potatoes
  • 300g potatoes
  • 1 fennel
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • l glass of milk
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 25g butter
  • Breadcrumbs


1Season the duck thighs with salt and pepper and bake in a medium-hot oven for 30 minutes. Once cooked, cut the meat off the bone and chop into small pieces. While the duck is cooking, make a purée with the sweet potato and the ordinary potatoes, the milk, the butter and the cream. Season with salt, pepper and 2 knife-tips of chilli powder.

2Cut the onion into fine slices and brown them in a bit of oil; add the chopped fennel and the parsley and cook for about half an hour until you have a compote.

3In a buttered gratin dish place first a layer of the potato purée, then the duck pieces with a bit of their juice and then the fennel mixture and a last layer of potato purée. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C.

4Serve this dish very hot with a green salad.


You can also use duck confit without the fat, but be careful with the seasoning.


First printed in our sister publication France Today

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