Serves: 4  
Difficulty: Medium

Two-Michelin starred Raymond Blanc’s tasty duck recipe has a Christmas twist making it an irresistible alternative to the traditional turkey.

Raymond Blanc’s recipe for potato, turnip and cranberry Saint Agur gratin with confit duck is a delicious, warming meal for the colder winter months but the addition of cranberry makes it a sure fire winner on a Christmas menu. Enhanced by creamy Saint Agur blue cheese, the flavours are balanced delectably with the sweetness of that sharp cranberry sauce. 

The gratin is served here with confit duck but is just as good as an accompaniment to pan-fried breast of duck, a roast rib of beef or a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. For this recipe, the confit duck can be cooked 2-3 days in advance and stored in the duck fat in the fridge. This will help to improve the flavour and also give you one less job to do ahead of the meal. 


For marinating the confit duck  

  • 4  duck legs 
  • 30g coarse rock salt 
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed 
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced 
  • 2 bay leaves, finely sliced 
  • 4 sprigs thyme, picked 

For cooking the confit duck   

  • 800g duck fat, melted 

For the potato, cranberry and Saint Agur gratin 

  • 500ml whipping cream 
  • 10g sea salt 
  • 2 pinches black or white pepper, freshly ground 
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
  • 550g potatoes, peeled and sliced 2mm 
  • 550g turnips, peeled and sliced 2mm 
  • 250g cranberry sauce 
  • 100g Saint Agur blue cheese, crumbled 

Special equipment

  • Food temperature probe


For marinating the confit duck  

1Lay the duck legs on a tray, flesh side upwards and distribute the rock salt, crushed pepper, garlic, bay leaves and thyme springs evenly over top. Cling film the tray and leave to marinate in the fridge for approximately 12 hours or overnight.

For cooking the confit duck   

1Once the duck legs are marinated, pre-heat the oven to 100°C.

2Wash off the marinade with water and pat dry with kitchen cloth.

3Place the duck legs skin side down in a large oven proof saucepan and cover with the melted duck fat.

4Place the saucepan on a hob on a medium heat and bring the temperature of the duck fat to 85°C. Check the temperature using a food temperature probe.

5Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 2¼ hours until the duck legs are very tender. Using the temperature probe, check the duck fat doesn’t go any higher than 90°C, just under simmering point.

6Once cooked, leave to cool in the duck fat and store in the fridge until required.

For the potato, cranberry and Saint Agur gratin 

1In a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring the whipping cream to a simmer. Add the salt, pepper and crushed garlic, remove from the heat and set aside to infuse while you prepare the vegetables.

2Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

3Layer half of the potato and turnip slices in a large gratin dish and pour over 1/3 of the infused cream through a strainer, ensuring it does not cover the top of the potatoes and turnips.

4Evenly spread the cranberry sauce all over, cover with the remaining potato and turnip slices and pour over the rest of the warm infused cream, once again through a strainer.

5Cover with foil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

6Remove the foil and continue to bake, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes.

7Sprinkle over the Saint Agur blue cheese and continue to bake for a final 10 minutes until golden brown.

8Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

To finish and serve 

1Increase the oven temperature to 220°C.

2Remove the cooled duck legs from the fat, making sure to wipe off as much fat as possible.

3Place the duck legs on an oven tray, skin side up and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden all over.

4Serve with the gratin. Some wilted greens would be a lovely accompaniment to this meal.


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