April 7th, 2009


Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb

The outdoor rhubarb season is in full swing. The combination of rhubarb with duck is a match made in heaven.

I have made the pickled rhubarb twice ,once with forced rhubarb in December and now with the outdoor rhubarb. The outdoor rhubarb has a more earthy flavour and the colour is slightly browner in comparison to the bright pink from the forced rhubarb. I’m truly torn between the two, I think I like both equally as much but my preference is to use the outdoor rhubarb with savoury foods and the forced with sweet bakery items.

The earthiness of the outdoor rhubarb truly complements the duck and makes this dish extra special.

I cooked these duck legs in the water bath, if you do not have this facility you can conft the duck legs in duck fat in a very low oven for 2 – 3 hours until tender. Surprisingly the result is very similar, as both taste nearly the same. Though the cooking time for the water bath is about 8 hours, you will still make a cost saving, as duck fat can be  expensive. Effectively with the vacuum bag method, the duck legs cook in its own fat and therefore you get similar results.

Try the pickled rhubarb with roasted shoulder of pork or incorporate it into a canapé.


Slow Cooked Duck Legs

  • 2 duck legs
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Large sprig of thyme

Preheat the water bath to 82°C.

Wear clean disposable gloves when you work with the duck legs.

Rub freshly cracked black pepper and course sea salt into the duck legs.

Place the two legs into a vacuum bag with the rest of the ingredients.

Seal the bag on hard vacuum.

Cook the duck legs for 8 hours.

Once the legs are cooked cool the duck legs in ice water until completely cold.

Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants

  • Tamarind Pickling Syrup
  • 100g unrefined caster sugar
  • 2 whole sweet tamarind pods
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 200ml filtered tap or natural spring water
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 of each whole white and black peppercorn
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Salt

Remove the pod from the tamarind; place the sticky pulp in a small saucepan.

Add the rest of the pickling ingredients.

Bring the pickling syrup to the boil over low heat, gently shake the pan to ensure that the sugar dissolves, and do not stir if you can prevent it.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and boil for 10 minutes to a reduced and sticky syrup.

Remove the seeds from the tamarind; also remove the whole peppercorns and the bay leaf.

Blend the pickling liquid until smooth and pour the pickling syrup back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil.

  • 200g fresh out door rhubarb
  • 100g frozen redcurrants
  • 1 star anise
  • Tamarind pickling syrup

Wash the rhubarb and cut in 6cm long by 1.5cm thick batons.

Add the rhubarb, star anise and frozen red currants to the pickling syrup.

Reduce the heat and gently poach the rhubarb in the liquid until tender.

Decant the rhubarb into a clean container and cool completely.
Assembly of the dish
2 large pink fir potatoes, boiled
2 slow cooked duck legs
60g curly kale
Sweet tamarind pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Remove the duck legs from the vacuum bag. Remove the knuckle and clean the bone. Wrap a piece of foil around the bone to protect it from burning in the oven. Place the duck legs on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, turn the oven to grill and crisp the skin until golden brown.

Cook the pink fir potatoes in salted water until tender. Cut them in half-length ways and roast the potatoes in the oven until crispy.

Blanch the curly kale, toss with melted butter and season with sea salt.

Arrange the roasted pink fir potatoes, buttered kale and duck leg on the plate and serve with a spoonful of the sweet tamarind pickled rhubarb.

Serves 2

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4 Comments to “Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing and elegant dish. I have all of those things in my garden!

  2. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m simply a reader of Madalene’s site, but I want to comment on Irini’s post. What a gracious person you are! I hope your 99-year-old friend is well. She’s lucky to have you for a friend. I enjoyed reading your whole comment, and you sound like a wonderful cook and a lovely person. My husband and children would be thrilled if I were half the cook you are. Keep cooking!

  3. Mark says:


    Thank you so much for this recipe. I am a recent convert to sous vide and really appreciated this recipe. I am a longtime fan of confit of duck and have been looking for a way to reduce the fat and salt without impacting the flavour. I cooked the duck legs using a lidl vaccuum sealer (20 quid well spent). I used a 10 L stock pot on my stove on a low simmer (temp 78-85C) for 10 hours.

    The duck was meltingly tender and flavoursome. Excellent.

    For the rhubarb chiutney I used a mixture of home grown champagne rhubarb, tinned rhiubarb and the tinned syrup to sweeten. I used 1.5 tbsp of tamarind concentrate and instead of red currants I used thinly sliced lemons and added this into the tamarind syrup early to allow it to soften and confit.

    Served with jenga chips (cooked in duck fat) and sugarsnap peas together with the wonderful chutney.

    Fantastic. Thanks so much.

    Plus, i have half of the chutney left to use with sous vide pork belly.

    I am a happy Man!

  4. irini says:

    I can’t thank you enough!!!

    Dear Madalene!
    Thank you for allowing my simple rhubarb recipe to be posted a little while back.
    I know it is no where near the exquisite caliber of the recipes you develop.
    I also want to thank you for the wonderful inspiration you have been to me this spring. Finding your site was like discovering treasure.

    I admire your combination of chemistry, artistic sensibility and cooking skill.
    And I appreciate the wonderful taste adventures you present.
    My neighbor and I make rhubarb jelly every year and this year I discovered she had a water bath in the attic when I went to get the jelly jars!
    So I made your Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrant.
    A few days later I tried it and …
    It was marvelous!
    I can’t wait for my neighbor’s red currants to ripen (in two weeks) to remake this with fresh red currants.

    Then I practiced making the Roasted Cardamom Panacotta with Stewed Rhubarb. I made some error with the Agar and it did not set up. (maybe because I was doing this on a very humid day, it stayed sticky).
    Despite this, the dish was very delicious.

    Last week I had a friend who celebrated her 99th birthday.
    I wanted to make something special.
    I turned to your site and was rewarded with another creative recipe.
    It was the Slow Cook Duck. But my friend does not like duck so I used quail.
    I hope you don’t mind. I included how I used your Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants as a marinade.

    My friends helped with the shopping and organizing and cooking.
    On her special day we had lunch.

    Roasted Quail with Madalene’s Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants as a Marinade

    8 quails
    3 C Madalene’s Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants plus extra for garnish
    ½ C sweet onion (Bermuda, Maui, or Vadalia), finely chopped
    1 to 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
    2 small garlic clove, minced
    1 C dry white wine

    Thoroughly mix the ingredients (except the quail !) together and set aside.

    Take the backbones out of the quail. (I had the butcher do this for me). Rinse them in cold water then pat them dry with paper towels. Place in a shallow pan. Pour on the marinade and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

    Drain the quail but keep the marinade. Place the quail in a roasting pan. Brush with some olive oil.
    Roast them for 15 minutes or until done. While the quail are roasting, strain the marinade into a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until syrupy. Season to your taste and mix well.

    Place a dollop of simple mashed potatoes (that’s what she likes: old fashioned mashed potatoes!) onto each plates. Pour the sauce onto the plates and place a roasted quail on top. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, and a big spoonful of Madalene’s Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants. Lastly, plate a portion of lightly sautéed Pea Greens and drizzle with fresh squeezed lemon juice.
    We enjoyed this with a watercress and toasted pignolia salad tossed in lemon juice, cranberry iced tea, and a Pinot Grigio.

    For desert I served Madalene’s Roasted Cardamom Panacotta with Stewed Rhubarb (but I skipped the Agar Jelly Rhubarb treats).

    Every time I borrow a recipe I like to share one, I am sorry, but I have nothing that compares to this Panacotta delight.

    My friend thoroughly enjoyed the lunch we put together for her and said she had had nothing like it in her life!

    Thank you once again for posting these wonderful recipes.


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