cheating at duck confit
May 10, 2012 § 2 Comments
so, i don’t think it’s a huge secret that we over here at we cook and drink together are huge fans of the duck. yes, even the sometimes-vegetarian. maybe *particularly* the sometimes-vegetarian. and, as we all know, the holy grail of duck and goose is the confit. Not only does it make you feel terrifically fancy, pronouncing things like that all french-like, but it ALSO leaves you with the ability to do beautiful things like this: https://wecookanddrinktogether.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-great-cassoulet-experiment/ AND leaves you with a whole lot of rendered duck fat for making everything more delicious for months to come.
this recipe comes from simply recipes dot com, contributed by a fine gentleman named Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Mr. Shaw, being far more daring and clever than i (in a third grade schoolyard sort of way, naturally) calls this recipe “ghetto duck confit.”
oh, but we’ll forgive mr. shaw. but only onaccounta the delicious.
1.duck legs. you should have at least one leg per person, depending on the size of the duck. i pre-ordered my duck legs from clancey’s in linden hills, who assured me that a single duck leg per person from au bon canard (who provided my meat) would be plenty. they were correct. fair warning: duck is not particularly inexpensive. it is less expensive if you can find it directly from a farmer, or if you’re willing to buy the whole duck (i’ve heard there are sellers at the minneapolis farmer’s market).
you can find information about ABC here: http://heavytable.com/the-ducks-of-au-bon-canard-in-caledonia/. and yes, they do foie. and yes, i realize that makes some of you angry or uncomfortable, in which case you should most certainly find a different supplier.
2. duck fat. this is not strictly necessary (you can certainly use olive oil), but please don’t. duck fat, you guys. duck fat. if you don’t have previously rendered fat in your freezer, you can pick some up at clancey’s (this does not typically need to be preordered).
1. dry the duck legs with paper towels. using a needle or pointy knife (i used the probe to my meat thermometer), pierce the skin of the duck, particularly the skin that covers fat. insert the needle at an angle and try not to hit the meat itself. spend some serious time doing this. this step lets the fat drip out, which, in turn, results in a beautiful, crispy skin.
2. salt the duck legs well. mr. shaw suggests that you do this “more than you think you ought to,” but this may be where mr. shaw and i part ways. my duck was delicious, but it was oversalted. use your judgment. but maybe stop precisely when you think you ought to. after salting, allow the salted legs to rest from twenty minutes to up to an hour.
3. place the legs in a baking dish that will just fit the legs without forcing them to be on top of one another. add in a thin layer of oil or melted duck fat in the dish (i hope you were listening when this issue was previously addressed. DUCK FAT).
4. place the meat in the cold oven and turn on to 300 degrees. and leave it there. don’t peek at it. it won’t cook faster. it should stay there for at least 90 minutes, and up to 2 hours. if you are me, and you are not, you should remember to close the drapes near the smoke detector when you’re doing this, because burning duck fat and smoke detectors are not the dearest of friends. but i digress. in any event, you should check the duck after 90 minutes. you’re looking for the skin to begin looking crispy. once that happens, crank the heat up to 375 degrees until the skin is “light golden brown.” probably around 15 minutes or so. DO NOT BURN THE SKIN.
5. remove and let cool for 10-15 minutes. put the remaining liquid fat in containers and freeze for cooking veggies, FRENCH FRIES and other things that will be made immeasurably more delicious with DUCK FAT. the fat will keep for up to 6 weeks in the fridge, and longer in the freezer.
PS- UGH, you GUYS. I need to get my photo sh*t together. for reals. as per usual, the above is borrowed (from Simply Recipes and Mr. Shaw. but, I mean, what’s going to happen? Is he going to sue me after we’ve bonded over the ghetto duck confit?! Please don’t, Mr. Shaw. Please don’t).
*of course, as Mike has previously pointed out, you can also purchase pre-made confit at Clancey’s. which is, yes, even easier than this recipe.