Recipe 3 of 103
Duck Confit was a revelation for me while in culinary school. First how easy it was to make and second how good it was fresh out of the duck fat. It’s rich, tender, crunchy, salty and delicious. Confit is something cooked in its own fat, duck legs cooked in duck fat, pork butt cooked pork fat aka carnitas – you get the idea right? Making it, is fairly easy and inexspensive. Duck leg/thighs are about $6 a pound (1 pound would be 2 leg/thighs) currently at whole paycheck, they are organic and air chilled, try to buy the best you can. They will have duck fat at most of their bigger stores too – if you didn’t already get some or buy on line. Like I said in the last post it will change your life. April’s recipe is encouraged in the book to go with her cassoulet. You cannot have cassoulet with out duck confit. Since I just did cassoulet for my birthday last month, I’m going to wait until much later in the year to show you guys her cassoulet. Which means I will be making duck confit again….yippee! Her duck confit is different from mine, I like her cooking method a lot. She serves the leg/thighs intact with super crispy skin, I prefer to pull the meat and crisp it up shredded.
2 duck leg/thighs with plenty of fatty skin
3 cups rendered duck fat:)
12 black peppercorns
12 juniper berries
4 dried pequin chilies
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
4 cloves of garlic peeled
1/2 cup kosher salt
Place the peppercorns, juniper berries, chilies and cinnamon in a mortar. Crush them with the pestle to a corse consistency.Add the thyme leaves and the garlic and crush into a pasteAdd the salt and mix well. Put the duck on a plate and sprinkle with the spice/salt mixture, covering all sides and pat into legs gently.Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours up to 48 hours. I buy duck leg/thighs in bulk so I made a ton.These have been marinating for 48 hours. April does hers for 24 hours, I pushed it to 48, mostly because I couldn’t cook them the next day so they carried on for one more day in the fridge, not a big deal. Next rinse off all of the spice mixture and pat each leg dry.
Assemble them all in a single layer in the pan.Add the rendered duck fat so it just covers the duck legs.April is very casual about this next part, which I really enjoyed. In school we had to check the temp on the fat every 15 minutes to make sure the fat stayed at 200 F, we cooked it for 3 to 4 hours. April says keep it at a low simmer so you see a bubble here and there and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat comes away from the bone with a twist of a fork. Her method does allow for the leg and thigh to stay a bit more intact, which is better for service as a whole piece. The meat is just as tender as the longer method I was taught in school. Both methods work great, choose the one that fits your final outcome for service. Your house will smell amazing, like Thanksgiving Day, seriously it does. When your legs are done, remove from the fat and drain on a cooling rack if you’re going to shred them. If you’re keeping them intact let them cool completely in the fat, store them this way for up to several weeks. To serve the legs whole and crispy, heat a small amount of duck fat in a saute pan and fry the legs skin side down until the skin is super crispy.I shredded mine. I freeze it in 2 portion servings, wrapped in foil then plastic. Thats why I make a ton at a time:) It’s always there for me, I love it. Looks like carnitas, right? So good!!!! To crisp up the shredded duck confit, same as the intact legs, small amount of duck fat in saute pan.I made a couple of salads, I love duck confit in a salad.Spinach, Dried Cherries, Stilton Cheese and Crispy Duck Confit with a Vanilla Bean & Roasted Shallot Dressing.The most over used culinary trend right now. Put an EGG on it! I call this the Breakfast Salad. Sliced romaine tossed with caramelized tangy onion dressing, slices of duck fat fried potatoes, pancetta chunks, poached egg and you guessed it…duck confit!
Thanks for reading, I promise I will shut up about duck for a while.