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Duck Confit

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My "to Do List" has had the notation of ordering duck fat for some time now. One of the suggested sources offers 10 lbs. of duck fat for $ ~ $35. The last time, I ordered 2 lbs. That lasted two years. This should last at least six months.

I love confit. :wub:

BTW, any suggested methods of confiting lamb shank?

Sam


Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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BTW, any suggested methods of confiting lamb shank?

Assuming you do not have any lamb fat lying around, I would think a cheap evoo would work nicely. Technique-wise, it's all the same.


--

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Other than making the confit technique possible with a much smaller amount of extra fat, I don't see how it offers much of an advantage over the regular way.  Seems like more trouble really.  And I would think that most people interested in making duck confit at home would be able to accumulate enough extra duck fat to make this technique superfluous with relatively little difficulty and a little forethought.  I always cut out and render down the extra fat from poultry before roasting and save it in the freezer.  My friends may think it's strange that I have 4 jars of fat in the freezer (goose, duck, chicken, bacon, lard) -- but maybe they're not real friends. :wink:  I mean, I can always think of something to do with rendered animal fat.

Anyway... getting back on track... The one advantage doing it in cryovac/FoodSaver it does seem to offer is that each duck leg would be in its own individual confit container you could just throw in the fridge.  That would certainly make it easier than digging a leg out of a crock when you wanted to just have one.  Doing it with plastic wrap doesn't seem worth it.

Thanks, slkinsey.

The advantages you see are the same ones I see. It took me a while to realize that my conclusions actually addressed the original reason for qualolote's post -- he was short of duck fat, a problem I confronted myself not too long ago. (Props to Inventolux for suggesting it.) I think this technique would work, even in ziplock bags, though I'd feel more secure with a FoodSaver. One of those is not my my budget, however. The plastic wrap is over the top, prep-wise. I can't imagine doing twelve of those packages for a dinner party.

However, the idea of just snatching a single envelope of confit for a solo dinner or an impromptu lunch is charming. And then I recalled that I've seen this before -- is this how D'Artagnian ships confit? I know I've seen it somewhere.

But frankly, I have no problem with adding chicken fat or evoo (or goose, as JasonCampbell suggests, if I had it -- I'm jealous of anyone who does) to confit duck -- I'm a big fan of mixing lipids (I would try evoo and chicken fat with lamb shanks, for instance, and the potatoes in the last photo were done in duck fat, butter and peanut oil).

Here's the thing: I believe Inventolux knows what he's doing. But there's a breakdown somewhere; I'd like to get to the bottom of it.

And I'd like to apologize to qualolote for temporarily hijacking his thread. (Sorry, Dean.)


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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...isn't 135 F about 57 Centigrade?

Yes. Why do you ask?

The answer to the temperature requirements for Chicken can be found right here on EGullet in a Q&A with Heston Blumenthal. I have cooked Chicken at low temperatures to this point several times now and get perfect results everytime. The chicken needs to be 65 degrees centigrade. SEE HERE


Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Here's the thing: I believe Inventolux knows what he's doing. But there's a breakdown somewhere; I'd like to get to the bottom of it.

I think the breakdown may be that Inventolux isn't really using a 135F water bath when he does this. When he says:

...the temperature of "just below simmering water" is around 135f...

and then says:

Poach at 135f for 25 to 30 minutes

Let rest for 5 minutes.

Perfectly cooked chicken

I think he is basing his 135F instruction on his earlier assumption that water just below simmering is 135F. I, rather, would suggest that water just below simmering is closer to 190F, and that water "just below steeping" (if we should take Inventolux' word usage to indicate an even lower temperature than that) is right around 180F -- much below that and we start to enter the range of "tea that needs to be heated up" temperatures.

Inventolux' statements above lead me to believe that he is not measuring the temperature of his water bath with a probe, as you did, but merely making the assumption that "just below simmering" equals 135F. Would you describe the water you measured at 135F as "just below simmering?" My guess is that his water bath is a lot closer to 180F or 190F.

By the way, there is an interesting chapter in The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore by Harold McGee about cooking meat below the boil. He includes timing charts for meats of various sizes in water baths of 200F and 180F. Of note are McGee's descriptions of "simmering" and "subsimmering" temperatures. He describes "simmering" as "a point just below the boil ... in the neighborhood of 200F." The temperature he chooses for "subsimmering" -- which is to say "just below a simmer" is 180F. According to McGee's timing charts, a 1.5 inch steak (which is around the same thickness as a large chicken breast tied up as Inventolux describes) in a 180F water bath will reach 150F in around 34 minutes. This is the "just done" temperature for chicken breast in my experience, and I do not think it is a coincidence that McGee's timing coincides exactly with the timing Inventolux gave you in his detailed instructions (35 minutes).


--

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I have cooked Chicken at low temperatures to this point several times now and get perfect results everytime. The chicken needs to be 65 degrees centigrade.

That is just about 150F, for those using the old scale.

Matthew, what is your method for low temperature cooking? What parts of the chicken do you do this with? Do you crisp the skin, or do you go skinless?


--

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I also use Heston's 65C rule for chicken, and have done so for a couple of years with success.

For example last year I roasted a capon with dry heat (in a professional "Combi" oven with a digital regulator, set to 68C); I checked the interior with a digital instant-read thermometer to verify that it had gone to 65C. The skin never crisped, but it did keep the flesh moist; I removed the skin, sliced the meat thinly, and covered this with the rest of a white truffle that we had for other purposes, finely shaved of course. It was very good. If you do want crisp skin, you can remove the chicken from the oven, heat the latter to scorching hot, and then put the bird in until the skin browns and crisps. Or use a blowtorch on the skin while the bird is resting.

I've also poached a whole chicken in a cooking bag, a large and heavy one with the opening tied and held outside of the water with a jury-rigged clamp; the chicken, at the bottom of the bag, was fully submerged. This was an attempt to duplicate the famous poularde en vessie (chicken in a bladder). Again, it was delicious, but fiddly to get done. This time the water fluctuated around 70C. It is damned hard to keep water at a constant temperature. And I had no way to check the temperature of the meat until it was done.

The big advantage of these low-temperature techniques for meat is that, if the temperature is right, they are relatively insensitive to timing. You can hold a piece of meat at the point where proteins coagulate, for a fair time without bad things happening.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Thanks Matthew, yes that's what I was getting at. 57c is just too low a temperature. Before I read your link I was thinking around 63c, but I bow to Heston's vastly superior experience. Incidentally I missed the Q&A, so I'll be looking through Hestons comments a bit later, thanks for flagging it up for me.

As to the rarity of goose fat. Here in the UK you can buy it tinned or fresh, the cost at a rough translation would be about $1.50 a Cup (8 American OZ?). A duck would be cost 4 times that, but would also supply meat, so as Dave sort of suggests, if you buy 2 ducks and use the various cuts in different ways...

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Other than making the confit technique possible with a much smaller amount of extra fat, I don't see how it offers much of an advantage over the regular way.  Seems like more trouble really.  And I would think that most people interested in making duck confit at home would be able to accumulate enough extra duck fat to make this technique superfluous with relatively little difficulty and a little forethought.  I always cut out and render down the extra fat from poultry before roasting and save it in the freezer.  My friends may think it's strange that I have 4 jars of fat in the freezer (goose, duck, chicken, bacon, lard) -- but maybe they're not real friends.   :wink:  I mean, I can always think of something to do with rendered animal fat.

Anyway... getting back on track... The one advantage doing it in cryovac/FoodSaver it does seem to offer is that each duck leg would be in its own individual confit container you could just throw in the fridge.  That would certainly make it easier than digging a leg out of a crock when you wanted to just have one.  Doing it with plastic wrap doesn't seem worth it.

Thanks, slkinsey.

The advantages you see are the same ones I see. It took me a while to realize that my conclusions actually addressed the original reason for qualolote's post -- he was short of duck fat, a problem I confronted myself not too long ago. (Props to Inventolux for suggesting it.) I think this technique would work, even in ziplock bags, though I'd feel more secure with a FoodSaver. One of those is not my my budget, however. The plastic wrap is over the top, prep-wise. I can't imagine doing twelve of those packages for a dinner party.

However, the idea of just snatching a single envelope of confit for a solo dinner or an impromptu lunch is charming. And then I recalled that I've seen this before -- is this how D'Artagnian ships confit? I know I've seen it somewhere.

But frankly, I have no problem with adding chicken fat or evoo (or goose, as JasonCampbell suggests, if I had it -- I'm jealous of anyone who does) to confit duck -- I'm a big fan of mixing lipids (I would try evoo and chicken fat with lamb shanks, for instance, and the potatoes in the last photo were done in duck fat, butter and peanut oil).

Here's the thing: I believe Inventolux knows what he's doing. But there's a breakdown somewhere; I'd like to get to the bottom of it.

And I'd like to apologize to qualolote for temporarily hijacking his thread. (Sorry, Dean.)

Great Field work DTC, I am very impressed at your curious course of action. One of my many weaknesses as a chef is my lack of precise recipes. I use a lot of "a pinch of this", "about that hot", "until it feels like this" sort of recipes. Its worked well for me to this point because I am accustomed to daily changing menus and exact recipes would take longer to generate than the just producing the dish. Recipes for me are almost against my nature. What if the herbs are too strong today? What if the chicken breast I use is smaller than yours? What if it rained yesterday all over the mushrooms I will be recieving tomorrow and now they are wetter than yesterday? What if, what if, what if? Standrdized recipes are far too difficult to use when I subject myself to the mercy of mother nature on a daily basis.

More often than not CT's would not serve chicken at all and pheasant was the preferred alternative. This recipe utilizing the "just below simmering" temperature I can best describe as just barely too hot to put your hands in. When used with a pheasant breast which is much smaller and more forgiving when it comes to medium and medium-well temps, it works quite well. My apologies for the misinfo, however it sounds like you have seen the benefits of the pouch technique. When the technique is taken steps further you can experiment with the following:

Obviously confits and braised items.

Fish like Turbot, Seabass, Japanese Tai, St. Pierre, or most white fleshed flat fish lightly brined with aromatics and seaweeds to enhance their minerally nature.

Lobster tails with brown butter in the bag cooked slower and lower to maintain the beautiful sweetness that is lost in so many other dry heat methods.

Vegetable purees, ill just give one example here and you can apply it to whatever plantlife you wish: Place sunchokes, a touch of yuzu or lemon juice, s&p, half of a diced shallot that has been sweated with olive oil all in a pouch, cook until soft. Puree. Cook less for use in whole form.

Legumes, Starches like potatoes, Curries, anything you can fathom works.

A method that I am currently playing around with is the following:

Take all the ingredients you would normally put into a fish or shellfish stock. Cryovac the entire thing, water and all. Poach until it separates or the sediment falls to the bottom of the bag. Strain. Much tastier than allowing the "steam" to escape.

Cryo/pouch cooking isnt the answer to most problems in food but I believe its a step in the right direction.

Once again DTC, great work, hopefully you will continue to exercise the benfits of this method.

Last but not least a method that opens doors for creativity:

Raw bread dough cooked inside a cryo bag. The possibilites here are promising and exciting. Ill let you know what I discover as I play around with it. My apologies for straying too far off subject.


Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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I have cooked Chicken at low temperatures to this point several times now and get perfect results everytime. The chicken needs to be 65 degrees centigrade.

That is just about 150F, for those using the old scale.

Matthew, what is your method for low temperature cooking? What parts of the chicken do you do this with? Do you crisp the skin, or do you go skinless?

I have poached breasts and roasted whole birds using this method. As Jonathan sugests, the skin does not crisp or brown at this temperature, however, I remove the bird form the oven while I turn the heat up very high (around 230 degrees centigrade), when the bird goes back into the oven it crisps i very little time at all whilst raising the ambient chicken of the chicken a little but not above the 65 degree mark ({bearing in mind it has cooled slightly while out of the oven. I have also removed the skin after cooking and crisped it seperately, either in the oven, under a grill on on a pan and then served it as crackling.

I would recommend keeping the skin on if roasting as althought the temperature ios very low it can lead to the outside drying slightly.

Even without true 'low temperature' cooking methods I always use a thermometer on my chicken now to get it to 65 degrees, perfect chicken every time.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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\And I'd like to apologize to qualolote for temporarily hijacking his thread. (Sorry, Dean.)

This was a good hijack, Dave. Some good discussion, an interesting experiment, no-name calling. The only problem was my duck was done on Tuesday :laugh:.

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soooo, now that all that's out of the way, and the confit is ready...what will we use it for? (the thread, and some great-looking duck legs at the Asian market, inspired me to make some for the first time since culinary school! smells diviiiiine.) looking for some inspired applications for this heavenly treat.


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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soooo, now that all that's out of the way, and the confit is ready...what will we use it for? (the thread, and some great-looking duck legs at the Asian market, inspired me to make some for the first time since culinary school! smells diviiiiine.) looking for some inspired applications for this heavenly treat.

Well, you can, optionally, keep it under its fat, in the fridge, for several weeks to mature it.

It is very traditional in a cassoulet, so I tend to pair it with beans. It is never heavily sauced, but any saucing should be intense.

Check for saltiness before you serve it. I hope everyone is using a coarse salt in the preparation.

Here with cannellini beans and courgettes. I have dressed it with balsamic.

Pheasant_confitP1093155.jpg

Here with puy lentils. Faisan au paysan. :smile:

Pheasant_confit.jpg

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I was just at the Fancy Food Show, and one of the companies was serving duck samples. But they were taking the skin off. I was so tempted to ask them if I could have it! :biggrin: Can you imagine a giant bag full of duck skin?

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What a cool thread. Inventolux, thanks for introducing a new technique, one I've never seen before. And thanks to Dave & SLKinsey for questioning -- and testing! -- to see how it might work. Dave, your willingness to try this out and post the results is truly above and beyond the call of duty. I have to admit, even given Inventolux's credentials, I was pretty sceptical. It just didn't sound right. But your tests, and SLK's theory about the temperature of the water make a lot of sense.

Okay, we're still not all the way back to duck confit (a subject about which I'm woefully ignorant), but I think the detour was worth it.

Carry on,

Chad


Edited by Chad (log)

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I remain unconvinced as to whether making confit in cryo or plastic offers any tangible benefits over doing it the traditional way. That said, I do think that two of the techniques discussed in this thread are very much worthwhile.

Cooking below the simmer is sometimes a little bit of pain in the butt, but it can produce very good and interesting results, and does allow one to hit the perfect temperature with much more accuracy. I suggest you check out the McGee book I referenced earlier in this thread if you are interested.

Cooking in cryo (or in FoodSaver) can also produce great results. The main thing that is great about this, IMO, is that it makes it practically impossible for any of the juices to run out as the food is cooked because there is nowhere for it to go. Can work great with certain fish, for example.


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soooo, now that all that's out of the way, and the confit is ready...what will we use it for? (the thread, and some great-looking duck legs at the Asian market, inspired me to make some for the first time since culinary school! smells diviiiiine.) looking for some inspired applications for this heavenly treat.

I like paring it with white beans, too.

But I also like frying up some potatoes persiellade (sp?) -- ie hash browns with garlic and parsley and a green salad using a dressing mase with duck fat, tamari and jerez vinegar (Jacques Pepins') suggestion. Takes about 10 minutes of effort and tastes like a million bucks -- great for late dinners at home after the show. I warm the confit until the skin gets crackly while I work on the other stuff.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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We, and by we i mean Phill, cooked some confit this week at way to high a temp., so we saved what we could, shredded, stir fried in a wok with some red onion, sesame oil and seved on some leaves with hoisin sauce...a top starter from a disaster :biggrin:

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a top starter from a disaster :biggrin:

AS long as its not the other way around when I eat at your place, thats all I care about.

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Steve M - great looking food as always. You are really going to have to invite me round one day!

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a top starter from a disaster :biggrin:

AS long as its not the other way around when I eat at your place, thats all I care about.

Just pray i get the extraction sorted before you come into our kitchen Andy...we have had plastic containers melting in the heat..no shit :smile:

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Holy.....moly. Please get it sorted. However, it will take more than that to put me off. I'm coming to peel your carrots, aint nothing gonna stop me!

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Steve M - great looking food as always. You are really going to have to invite me round one day!

You cook. My wife and I will show you how professionals eat.

BTW. We are off to Burgundy next week. Can't afford to go to Troisgros for lunch, so we definitely won't. :rolleyes:

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