RECIPE 49: Duck Confit

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Duck Confit

Once esteemed as a preservation method, cooking and keeping duck in its rendered fat results in meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat which can be used in a variety of simple preparations. Sear the duck legs in a hot skillet or shred the meat and add it to salads, or, perhaps best of all, make duck rillettes. Just remember the duck must be salted a day before you plan to cook it.

Recipe By: Tom Colichhio, Gramercy Tavern, NY
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: French
Main Ingredient: Duck
Categories: Salads, Main Dish

-= Ingredients =-
3 tablespoons Salt
4 cloves Garlic ; smashed
1 each Shallot ; peeled and sliced
6 sprigs Thyme
to taste Black pepper ; coarsely ground
4 each duck legs with thighs
4 each duck wings ; trimmed
4 cups Duck fat ; (approximate)

-= Instructions =-
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the duck pieces in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots, and thyme in the container. Arrange the duck, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots, and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

After 1-2 days, preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck.

Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Pour the melted fat over the duck (the duck pieces should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer — just an occasional bubble — until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)

NOTES: The duck fat can be strained, cooled, and reused.

This recipe for confit is vastly superior to a few others I’ve tried, which invariably have involved way too much salt — making the duck too tough and salty to eat in anything besides stews and cassoulet! This one is perfect and allows for use in salads and other dishes where the confit isn’t being “recooked”.

Good recipe for a salad involving the confit: Mesclun (preferably on the bitter side — add some arugula), (cold) blanched green beans, (cold) cooked French lentils (cook in salted chicken stock, perhaps with some onion bay leaf, and thyme, until just tender then cool), dried cherries in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette topped with warm shredded duck confit (about 1/2 leg per salad).

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