The braised duck can be cooked the day before, and I think most braised meat preparations are even better served the next day. Don't be put off by prunes. If they've been a bit challenging for you in the past, try replacing each prune with a teaspoon of quince paste.
4 duck legs
6 pitted prunes
zest of ½ an orange
8 golden shallots, peeled
½ cup dry sherry
1 cup chicken stock or water
2 thick slices of smoked bacon, cut in half (check gluten-free, if required)
1 bay leaf
½ bunch of kale
1 tsp butter
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Over a moderate heat, warm a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Add the duck legs and gently cook, skin side down, until golden. Transfer the duck legs to a crock pot or small deep braising pan. (It is best if the duck legs fit snugly.)
3. Add the prunes, orange zest, shallots, sherry, stock, bacon and bay leaf. Cover the pot with a lid, place it in the oven and cook for half an hour before turning the heat down to 140C.
4. Continue to cook for two hours, checking from time to time to make sure all of the liquid doesn't evaporate. If it begins to dry out, top up with half a glass of water. When the duck is fork-tender and almost falling off the bone, remove the pot from the oven and leave to cool.
5. Remove the duck legs from the pan and transfer the braising liquid and contents to a small saucepan. Simmer the ingredients until reduced to a thick sauce.
6. Wipe out the braising pan, add the duck legs and return to the oven to warm through briefly. While the duck is warming, blanch the kale in a large pot of salted water for three minutes. Strain the kale well and toss with a little butter and a pinch of salt. Place one duck leg in each of four plates, spoon the reduced sauce evenly over the duck legs and add some dressed kale on the side.
Find more of Andrew McConnell's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.