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Cooking During COVID - NPC Duck Confit

"Welcome to the NPC kitchen, a part of the history and prestige of the brand that nobody gets to see. I started here 9 years ago and the thing I love about it is that even the most simple day on paper, will be challenging and very rewarding – no day is uneventful, and no 2 days are alike.

We do all of our catering out of one kitchen for high profile tv events for international viewers for 600 people, down to a romantic dinner for 2 in the Chatham House Restaurant and everything in between.

Some of the more influential people who we have catered for over the years Kevin McCloud, Margaret Thatcher, Richard Nixon, Dalai Lama, George Bush, Bill Gates, Fred Hollows, currant and former PMs, and various Royals

Today I will be doing a dish that over the past decade has been one of the most popular dishes we do. It is a very robust traditional hearty and extremely wintery dish, and has been adapted to our take away menu at the present time.

The secret to our success and many Industry awards is to use the best quality ingredients we can find – if you start with 2nd best you can not make it the best.

We spent countless hours sourcing the best quality ingredients – and visit the farms to get a feel for the people and produce before using them. Our suppliers must have the same creativity, passion and enthusiasm for their product as we have for cooking. I will only use products that the producer asks us what we will be using it for and questions us as much as I question them."

- Daren Tetley, Executive Chef

Confit Duck Leg

Serves 4Prep time: 15 minutes plus curing time. Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours

Cook ahead and reheat in hot pan in oven when required.


4 duck Maremma duck Maryland (drumstick and thigh)

For the salt cure:

50gm sea salt flakes

5gm freshly ground white pepper

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

For the oil

Vegetable oil, duck fat mix, for the confit

3 cloves garlic, halved

3 star anise

4 slices ginger

4 sprigs thyme

1 orange cut in 1/2

¼ cup Grand Marnier

4 sprigs oregano

4 sprigs sage

5gm pink peppercorns

5gm juniper berries

1 stick cinnamon

5gm smoky paprika

5gm ground nutmeg

2gm cumin seeds


In a small bowl, combine the sea salt, pepper, orange zest and thyme. Rub the mixture all over the skin of the Marylands and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 120°C.

Rinse the skin of the duck legs and pat dry.

Place them in a single layer in a dish just big enough to fit them. Pour in vegetable oil mix to just cover, and nestle the garlic, star anise, ginger, thyme and orange peel, herbs and other spices around the dish

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 ½ hours or until the meat is soft and coming away from the bone.

Remove the duck from the oil and drain on a paper cloth. Strain duck fat through a fine sieve and cool down for next time, Just before serving, place the legs skin-side down in a hot non-stick frypan to crisp up the skin.


200 g Mount Zero Beluga lentils

1lt Water

200 gm Carrot – peeled and cut into 1cm dice

200 gm Leek – washed and cut into 1cm dice

200 gm Brown onion – peeled and cut into 1cm dice

50gm Garlic clove - chopped

200 gm celery – washed and cut into 1cm dice

4 sprigs - Fresh lemon thyme

3 whole - Rosemary sprig

10gm salt

5gm Freshly ground white pepper

100ml Lily red

10 ml Morello Grove Cherry Balsamic reduction

100gm Tomato – cut into 1cm dice

300 ml + 300ml Brown Chicken stock

50g Unsalted butter

2ea Majura Valley egg yolks

25g Flat leaf parsley - chopped finely


Place the lentils into a large bain, cover with water and wash well. Drain and fill with water again and soak overnight. Place into a large pot and season and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and cook the lentils for around 20 minutes until tender. Drain

Place the carrot, celery, leek, garlic, onion, thyme and rosemary in a large hot saucepan with a little olive oil. Sweat until browned, add the Lily and deglaze.  Add the cooked lentils and stir around. Season with salt, pepper and add 300ml chicken stock and reduce to a sauce consistency. Add butter and egg yolks and stir in. Add balsamic and the parsley and check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Crisp the duck leg by placing it in a frying pan skin side down with a little of the fat it was cooked in. Transfer to the oven for 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Spoon the lentils into a bowl, place the duck leg on top and serve.


Tathra Place uses a model of mimicking nature and a highly rotational template to start a regenerative agricultural farm. Luke and Pia use an intense rotational system incorporating pigs, chickens, ducks and cows. Together the aggressive movement of these animals has eliminated weeds, rebuilt topsoil and through the improvement of perennial pastures, sequester tonnes of carbon back into the topsoil. The company is incredibly low input with the use of human beings instead of diesel and much more walking time than tractor hours.

Maremma free range duck is a true free range, pasture raised bird, free to roam in 10 acre silvo-pastured cells as part of a highly rotational land healing regenerative agricultural system. All of their animals have access to water from the Wombeyan Caves aquifer which is very pure drinking water. The birds eat a diet of grasses, bugs, worms and anything else they can find. Predator protection is achieved by Maremma dogs which patrol the ten acre cells and guarantee zero fatality. They limit stock density to 500 birds per cell and all birds have plenty of access to shade and wind protection. Because they allow these animals to live freely in the wild without any sheds or confinement the meat is much more tender and the amount of fat is increased and the flavour is of a true game bird.

Mount Zero is in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria. It is a certified Bio-dynamic practicing a holistic and chemical free approach to growing. Beluga Black Lentils are small, black lentils that are grown in the self-mulching soils in Wimmera. These lentils hold their shape when cooked and offer a great colour contrast to a dish as well as an intense earthy flavour

Morella Grove Farm is in the Riverina region of NSW. Franks cherries are grown chemically free using the best environmental practices, that mimic traditional Mediterranean Farming to produce an intensely fruity and rich cherry.

Majura Valley free range eggs

Sustainable Farm Practices

Portable electric netting fences and mobile chook sheds support 2,400 layers, split into 8 cohorts in quarter hectare ranges, which are rotated around the farm – that equates to 250 birds per hectare. 

The birds both fertilise the soil and perform efficient weed control. After the birds move on, the rich pasture that grows supports the lambs and ewes.

Majura Valley Free Range Eggs is a mixed farm focusing on sustainable methods of production that benefit the environment and food culture of the Nation's Capital. Nick and Annie’s farming philosophy is unique as they are not just an egg producer – the mobile free range egg system is just one piece of the puzzle that benefits a broad agricultural business. Bird droppings fall through the floor onto the paddocks and the birds are out and about during the day cultivating the paddocks and scouring weeds. This design has enabled them to better manage their land and it has had a follow on effect to the viability of our crops and drought proofing.

The overall benefit is that most farms loose precious nutrients from the soil every time they cut hay, harvest a crop or sell livestock from that land. With their innovative farming practices the activity itself is putting nutrients back into the soil. The livestock are grazing on the regenerated pastures where the hens have passed over are receiving a greater range of nutrients than they would from most Australian soils and importantly, the use of artificial fertilisers is reduced.

The National Press Club of Australia