Meet our latest "staple", something the Missus says we should always have on hand......
Basically, duck legs, cured, then cooked at a very low temperature covered with fat (oil poached) for hours, which produces and amazingly flavorful, juicy, and tender product. It can then be stored in it's own fat for rather long periods of time. Most folks hear "duck confit" and think it;s something difficult to make; but at its core it's basically a preservation method, with animal fat used as a barrier to the elements. It is amazingly easy....basically prep, cure, rinse, dry, poach in oil, cool, put in the fridge.
Prepping them for a meal is also easy; the most basic method being putting in a 400-425 oven and baking until heated through and the skin is crisp. I prefer doing this on the stovetop, starting with a cold pan and under low heat. The fat renders out...which we later use for eggs or potatoes. The idea is to heat through slowly while crisping up the the skin. I usually raise the temp a bit near the end.
This one had a simple pan sauce where the duck fat is poured off into a bowl for later use, shallots are softened, since we're still not doing cooking with alcohol at home; I used veal stock to deglaze and reduce. When reduced I add a touch of Date vinegar, and creme fraiche, since it's fermented and allowed. This one is served with a version of stoemp, made a bit more creamy with the cooking liquid from the sauteed vegetables and some duck fat. It is, in a word, quite the meal.
All you really need for curing the duck is really salt....but of course, the Missus needs that little "Chinese touch", because She believes all duck should have that flavor profile, so I use Five Spice powder.....from QingDao...where you actually go to a herbalist/pharmacy to have them mix up for you. The duck legs I order from Bristol Farm, I pick them up, usually the day it is delivered....it's never frozen and quite fresh.
Duck Confit - mmm-yoso style
Seasoning per duck leg:
3/4 Tb of coarse sea salt - we use Maldon Salt because it's pretty easy to get
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Duck fat to cover/submerge duck legs. About 6 cups or so. (you can supplement with pork fat, or other neutral oil - not too much)
- Rub seasoning into duck and place fat side down in a single layer in a pan
- Place in the fridge overnight
- Put duck in a single layer in a pot and submerge in duck fat
- Cook at a low temperature, preferably 180-190 degrees....the lowest in our oven is 200, which I measured at 210, so I make due.
- When a skewer goes easily into the duck legs remove from the heat- the tricky part is to stop before the duck start breaking down. It will keep cooking as it cool.
- Cool, and remove to a container, cover with fat and place in the fridge.
Once you've finished eating your duck, you can reuse the fat for confit a few more times before it gets too salty.....