Duck Confit

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.

Here is what you will needconfitstuff

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. crushCrush them with the pestle to a corse consistency.crush2Add the thyme leaves and the garlic and crush into a pastecrush3Add 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.marinateCover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours up to 48 hours. I buy duck leg/thighs in bulk so I made a ton.marinate2These 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.ready4fatAdd the rendered duck fat so it just covers the duck legs.simmerApril 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.duck2I 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. shredLooks 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.crispyI made a couple of salads, I love duck confit in a salad.spinachSpinach, Dried Cherries, Stilton Cheese and Crispy Duck Confit with a Vanilla Bean & Roasted Shallot Dressing.eggonitThe 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.

Cheers!

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Duck Fat Potatoes

Recipe 2 of 103

Duck fat is like pure gold…really….trust me. Potatoes cooked in duck fat are golden and crispy with soft creamy centers..to die for.
crunch2Nutritionally duck fat is similar to olive oil , it is low in saturated fat, with a good combination of poly and monounsaturated fats. Duck fat has a high smoke point and can be re used over and over again. Dare I say it…better than butter?!?! Buy some, you will not regret it. I hoard it and use it often, you will too.

What you will need to enjoy the awesomeness of potatoes fried in duck fat.

2 1/2 pounds large russet baking potatoes  (2 large halved lengthwise or 4 small, peeled and rinsed)

Kosher salt

2 cups rendered duck fat, gently warmed until liquid

Maldon or another flaky sea salt

Peel and rinse potatoes. Place potatoes in a pot filled with cold water so they’re covered by an inch or two of water. Add kosher salt so the water tastes a bit less salty than the ocean.Potatoboil Bring to a boil over high heat, than lower heat to keep a vigorous simmer. Cook the potatoes until you can insert a butter knife without to much resistance. April says “don’t get too poke-happy or they’ll get waterlogged” do what she says. This should take about 15 minutes. Drain in colander and let rest so the steam can escape.coolpotatoPreheat oven to 450 F. While the potatoes release their steam, heat your duck fat gently in an oven proof pan, cast iron dutch oven or a saute pan with straight high edges will work nicely. Heat duck fat on high heat, let the fat simmer for about 5 minutes. Test with a piece of potato to make sure fat is hot enough, the potato should sizzle and crackle and continue to bubble. If the fat isn’t hot enough the potatoes will stick.fry1Carefully add all the potatoes to the fat, let them brown on all sides this should take about 10-15 minutes.fry2 When each one has a light golden crust on all sides, carefully place pan in oven and roast  for 10-15 minutes, turning them over once in that time. They should come out looking like this.fry3Remove from hot fat with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, immediately sprinkle with sea salt and let cool a bit. Serve at once or just stand over the plate and eat them all like we did with a garlic aioli and chopped green onions.donepotatoWe being Jenny and I and yes we macked out, they were heavenly. Photo credit to Jenny from Absolutely Photography, sad part is I did the photo editing….its been so long since my photoshop days, apologies to my Jennay. Cool your duck fat to warm and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Place in clean container, keeps in fridge for a week or freeze for up to 6 months. Don’t freeze this batch just yet….Duck Confit is next and it will change your life.