Now that summer has slipped through our fingers it’s time to line up a few comforting autumnal recipes. These confit duck potato cakes can be made small enough to serve as a starter or big enough to enjoy as a main course.
I wanted to eat them with my plum and ginger chutney so the spicing is Chinese-influenced, but frankly you could make them plainer and slap a fried egg on top and they’d still be good.
If you’d like to make a quick spiced plum sauce as well, just stone a few handfuls of plums, stew them down with half a cinnamon stick, a couple of star anise and sugar to taste, then when they’re soft fish out the spices and blend until smooth. Push through a sieve for ultimate silkiness if you want to get cheffy.
For the pumpkin puree, slice into rings, drizzle with a little oil, roast until soft then peel, de-seed and puree with plenty of butter, salt and pepper. If you want to get ahead, both of these can be the day before and bunged in the fridge, as can the uncooked duck patties once formed.
Confit Duck Potato Cakes
Approx 500g baking potatoes
1 medium white onion, peeled and coarsely grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 heaped tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
2 tbsp oil + more to fry (or use the duck fat)
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander + a few sprigs to garnish
2 confit duck legs (pre-made or make your own)
Salt and pepper
Bake the potatoes at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 40 minutes until barely tender.
While the potatoes are still cooking, heat the oil in a small frying pan and cook the onion, sprinkled with a pinch of salt, until golden brown. Stir it often so it doesn’t catch. Add the garlic, ginger and five spice and cook for another two or three minutes. Scrape onto kitchen paper to drain then place in a bowl.
Scrape or melt (at the back of a warm stove) the fat from the duck legs, reserving the fat if you’d like to cook with it. Shred the meat with a couple of forks, discarding the skin and bones. Add to the bowl.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and cut into 1cm dice. Add to the bowl, along with the chopped coriander, mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s okay if some of the potato breaks up but try to keep a bit of texture.
Form into patties: I made small, fat cork shapes because I wanted them as a starter (I might go for rounds next time) but you can make bigger cakes if you would like to eat them as a main course. Cover and place in the fridge to firm up.
To cook, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil or some of the reserved duck fat and cook the patties on a moderate heat until golden brown and piping hot, turning gently so they colour evenly.
If you’re following my serving suggestions, warm the pumpkin puree, put a puddle on each warmed plate and put the patties on top. Drizzle the plate with some spiced plum sauce (teriyaki sauce would also work). Add a dab of plum and ginger chutney, or serve it separately if you prefer, then top with a few sprigs of coriander.