Sunday, 23 June 2013

My version of a Classic French Dish – Duck Confit

Duck Confit with Savoury Cherry Sauce by Carole's Chatter

The next Food on Friday has French Cuisine as its theme.  So with some trepidation I decided to use a confit cooking method for the very first time ever.  It's not something you can whip up in 15 minutes – I would call it slow food.

For my Duck Confit I started with 2 duck legs – luckily they have them in the supermarket so I didn't have to joint a duck on top of everything else!

I also got 2 jars of duck fat.  Again good supermarkets or delis will have this.  It is great not only for confit but also for roasting potatoes in.  But it is a special treat since it isn't as good for you as olive oil.  If I used it every day I'd soon be waddling like a duck.

I ground up some cloves and Sichuan pepper (the Sichuan pepper is obviously not authentically French – it was a substitution for Juniper berries).  Mix this up with a good quantity of salt (rock or sea salt if you have it) and massage it in to the duck on both sides, put the legs on a dish and add a couple of bay leaves (and a couple of dried red chillies – again my addition).  Cover your dish tightly and leave it in the fridge overnight – or even better for 24 hours.  Don't worry that it will get too salty – you will be brushing off that salt in the next step.

When you have finished letting the duck sit, brush as much salt off as you can – I used a little pastry brush to do this but some recipes suggest rinsing the duck at this stage and then thoroughly patting it dry.  You do want to try to get as much of the loose salt off as you can otherwise there is a risk that the end result will be too salty.

The duck after confiting but before roasting
Now for the confit part, I used my slow cooker to do this which was a good idea because it enabled very gentle cooking.  You could just do it in a pot over a very gentle heat.  You pop your duck legs in to the pot/slow cooker with the duck fat.  Make sure some of the fat is under the duck.  I had the skin side up.  The fat needs to cover the duck completely – if you don't have enough duck fat  or any, you can top up with a neutral oil (like rice bran or sunflower).  This fat will not go to waste after the confit you will be using it to store your duck until you want to use it and after that you can keep it for roasting potatoes.  Keep it in its original jars in the fridge.

The duck being confited in the slow cooker

Very gently cook your duck in the fat for say at least 4 hours (I did 6).  Then turn it off.  If you are not going to use the duck right away put it into a ceramic dish and cover it with the duck fat and let it cool and store it in the fridge – the layer of fat plus the salt will preserve it nicely for quite a while.

But I wanted to cook the duck for dinner.  You wind your oven up really high – pizza type temperatures and then roast the duck legs sitting on a rack (no added fat there will be some clinging to them after taking them out of the confit).  It is important to have the skin side up.  Keep an eye on them – you don't want to burn them after all this work.  They only need about 20 minutes for the skin to get nice and crispy and for the meat to warm through – you are not cooking the meat since that has already been done.

The duck confit after roasting

The results were fantastic – particularly given it was my first time.  The skin was crispy and crunchy, the meat was fall off the bone succulent.

I served it with a savoury cherry sauce which I will post about another time.

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  1. My husband would love this! He has this thing about dusk fat. I've never seen this done in a crockpot--very smart, Carole!

  2. I wish I could find duck around here that wasn't frozen. I love duck, but do not have it often. You have my mouth watering!

  3. I like duck..but I only had duck confit once in a restaurant and did not love it. looks so nice thought...maybe I need to try it again.

  4. That looks really good. I've never made confit, but that looks doable.

    Joy's Book Blog

  5. Completely droolicious yaar, wishing to try it sooner!

  6. Your duck looks absolutely beautiful. I'm not a huge confit fan because I've never really liked the taste of fat, but I love how easy this is to make in a crockpot.

  7. My husband likes duck too, but I've never had a taste for it.

  8. this looks delicious!! thanks for bringing to the Sunday Funday Linky Party!


  9. OH MY GOODNESS this sounds good. I haven't had really good duck in a while - I usually order it at restaurants and am disappointed. I'll have to see what my grocery store carries and try some recipes...

  10. Sounds delicious and brave to make lol! Thanks for joining us at the Let's Get Social Sunday! Diane @MamaLDiane

  11. Sounds and looks delicious!!! Not so sure I can find duck fact in Iowa, but I will have to look :)


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