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culinary bear

Confit Duck

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I'm in the process of making confit duck, so I thought I'd share my technique for doing so; it's a slightly modified version of the one I make in the restaurant. I hope this encourages people to try making it, as it's a wonderful thing to have in the storecupboard. I'd be interested in hearing how other people's techniques vary from my own.

You'll need:

10 duck legs (I use French Babrary)

a lemon, sliced into 6 or so slices

an orange, ditto

a couple of dozen sprigs of thyme

half a dozen bay leaves

a head of garlic

about 8oz / 220g medium coarse salt

about 2kg / 4lb duck or goose fat (I use goose)

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1) In a plastic or otherwise non-reactive contatiner that'll fit in the fridge, place everything apart from the goose fat, and mix with the hands to combine. Leave in the fridge for 12-16 hours.

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2) Take the legs out of the fridge. The salt will have dissolved and there'll be some fluid in the bottom of the container.

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3) In warm water, rinse the duck legs, and leave them to drain. Rinse and drain the herbs, garlic, orange and lemon.

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4) Place half the herbs, garlic and fruit slices in the bottom of a heavy pot (I use a cast-iron Le Creuset pot)

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5) Make the first layer of duck legs, overlapping like this.

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6) Place the fifth leg in to make a complete circle.

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7) Fill in the middle with the remaining herbs/garlic/fruit.

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8) Make the second layer of five legs in the same way as the first.

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9) Just cover with warm duck/goose fat.

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10) Cover with a cartouche of aluminium foil. It's imporatant that the foil doesn't overlap the edge of the pot otherwise the fat may spill over upon cooking.

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11) Place in the oven at 90C (200F) for 12-14 hours. The lid should be slightly ajar, as shown, and it's good practice to place a tray underneath the pot to avoid any spillage catching fire on the oven floor. I learned this the hard way.

If there's any interest, I'll put up pics of the potting process when I do that tomorrow.

Hope this proves of interest... :smile:

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Yes by all means take the project to the finish.Quick couple questions for ya....

Where/How did you obtain the goose fat?

What do you plan to do with the confit?

thanks,

Dave s

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Yes by all means take the project to the finish.Quick couple questions for ya....

Where/How did you obtain the goose fat?

What do you plan to do with the confit?

                                            thanks,

                                                       Dave s

The goose fat comes in a 3.5kg (8lb) tin, from France via the good people at West Country Fine Foods (one of my restaurant suppliers). Cost was eleven pounds.

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Some of the confit will be stripped down and the meat packed in jars, covered with a thin layer of fat, and put aside to mature. Some will be jarred whole in fat. I'm going to keep some for myself (this is batch one of two; there are another ten legs in the fridge as we speak) and some will be given to appreciative foodie friends as christmas things.


Edited by culinary bear (log)

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please do post more detail!

what do you mean "put aside to mature"? how does the flavor change? how/where do you store the "maturing" confit? and most of all - especially for cooks like me who would love to try things like this but truly fear killing people with toxic rotten duck, butter etc...how do you know if it's been done right?

many many thanks for sharing your expertise!

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That is amazing. I had no idea about the making of Duck Confit. Thank you CBear!

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Cool!

I can't begin to tell you how much it helps to have photos accompanying recipes or descriptions of general cooking processes. Great job, culinary bear. I hope this kind of documenting becomes habit!

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please do post more detail!

what do you mean "put aside to mature"? how does the flavor change? how/where do you store the "maturing" confit? and most of all - especially for cooks like me who would love to try things like this but truly fear killing people with toxic rotten duck, butter etc...how do you know if it's been done right?

As time goes on, the duck will begin to develop a more mature flavour. It's not like hanging poultry or game to achieve a 'higher' flavour; it's more like maturing a christmas pudding or fruit cake, or hanging up a ham to mature.

If I'm certain about having a well-sealed jar, I'll be happy storing in a cupboard. Open jars should be kept in the fridge.

The flavour acquires a certain nuttiness, and a roundness which is very pleasing. 'Fresh' confit duck is very nice, but the matured article is sublime. It's one of the reasons you should make it at home; I know of no restaurant that makes confit in bulk to keep and deliberately age before serving it, so you you'll never get a true matured confit flavour unless you make it yourself at home.

I'll post more about the 'how do you know if you're doing it right?' tomorrow, but if you pack the jars properly, and then bring the jars up to boiling point in a pot of water, you'll almost certainly guarantee sterility.

If in doubt: off meat smells bad - decomposition generally leaves nothing to the imagination, smell-wise. I've never had any trouble with confit, and I've had some over three years old.

One of the best books on the subject is one of my all-time favourites, 'Goose Fat and Garlic', by Jeanne Strang.

I can't begin to tell you how much it helps to have photos accompanying recipes or descriptions of general cooking processes. Great job, culinary bear. I hope this kind of documenting becomes habit!

JJ, I just thought it would help make things clearer - dry text can sometimes be hard to follow. I have a few more ideas for step-by-steps, if more of the same would be welcome.


Edited by culinary bear (log)

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Great stuff! I join the others in anticipation for the second stage!

And, for the US folks, does any one have a duck fat supplier for the home cook? I found D'Artagnan and Club Sauce offer it, but nowhere nearly as cheap as you have here, Culinary Bear (8 lbs for 11 pounds?!).

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After Graduation from Culinay School,we received a week long tour of France and one of the stops was to a farm of a Mr.Pascal Lapree in a small village outside of Dijon,Mr. Lapree raised ducks for Foie Gras,Magret,Rillettes and of course Confit.It was a very educational and enlightening day,i can still remember how great his confit was on just toasted baguettes,So im glad you have taken this project on Cb-Pictures really do the undertaking justice--thanks

Dave s

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f**k me... $15 for 12oz?

*faints*

Even at the current exchange rate, mine works out at no more than US$25 for the whole 8lbs. Fair enough, I'm paying trade prices, but still...

The total bill (pardon the pun) for the fat and legs was 33.01 (that's our strange UK pounds). I've just potted up the whole batch, resulting in four medium and one large pot of picked duck, and several inquisitive cats nosing around the bins outside.

I'll pot the second batch up whole; pics of the first lot should be up in a wee while.

Dave - Fresh crusty baguette, salted butter, confit de canard... bliss. :smile:

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Great stuff! I join the others in anticipation for the second stage!

And, for the US folks, does any one have a duck fat supplier for the home cook? I found D'Artagnan and Club Sauce offer it, but nowhere nearly as cheap as you have here, Culinary Bear (8 lbs for 11 pounds?!).

I get duck fat at my local butcher's. Of course, I live in the SF Bay Area, so it's a bit easier. Mine is from Grimaud. Hudson Valley Foie Gras sells some, and it's worth calling Sonoma Saveurs, though I don't explicitly remember them selling duck fat.

Also, for you US cooks, Barbary ducks are the same as our Muscovies. (At least in terms of breed. Obviously different producers will raise them differently). And of course all the foie gras ducks here in the U.S. are Mulards, which are structurally more like Pekins. Just for handy conversions between meats.

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Thanks! I plan to take a shot at Bourdain's cassoulet sometime in January, so now I can do the confit myself. Question though, for a cassoulet, would you alter your recipe? I'm thinking I'd leave the lemon and orange out perhaps.

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Thanks! I plan to take a shot at Bourdain's cassoulet sometime in January, so now I can do the confit myself. Question though, for a cassoulet, would you alter your recipe? I'm thinking I'd leave the lemon and orange out perhaps.

The lemon and orange aren't as significant in the final flavour as you'd think - they add what is at most a very subtle background flavour.

The main alteration I'd make is to cooking time. This batch took ten hours to cook to (falling apart) tenderness; for cassoulet, where it's going to be cooked again and subject to a little bit of mechanical stress, I'd check after five or six hours.

And once you start making cassoulet, there's no turning back...


Edited by culinary bear (log)

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okay, this is the first batch potted up...

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1) This is the pot straight after coming out of the oven.

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2) The legs have been lifted gently from the hot fat, and set aside. At this point I've also strained the duck fat into a large glass jar.

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3) I've started to pick the meat from the legs. This is far easier if the legs are still hot. It's very easy to do; very similar to picking down boiled ham hocks. The meat in the bowl represents two legs' worth.

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4) The same two legs' worth of picked meat packed firmly into a glass jar, with enough space left at the top for a layer of fat.

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5) one medium and one large jar with a good layer of fat on top of the meat. I'll leave these to set in the fridge overnight, and then boil them up tomorrow to sterilise them.

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6) a view from below, showing how the duck looks when packed in to the jar.

I'll show you the finished articles tomorrow...

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Awesome! I do have one question:

When you are ready to use the canned duck confit how do you get the duck out? How long can the duck last in the jar?

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Awesome! I do have one question:

When you are ready to use the canned duck confit how do you get the duck out? How long can the duck last in the jar?

Dig it out! Just scrape back the fat and remove as much meat as you need.

Theoretically, an unopened jar should last a significant number of years. Once opened, you should definitely keep it in the fridge and use within a month or two.

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Melkor just had a source for duck fat over thanksgiving. Hey David where did you get it and how much did it cost?

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This is indeed very cool! (And so is that green pot :wub: ) I like the idea of using citrus as an additional flavor element. I sometimes mix the salt with Herbes de Provence or with ras al hanout, but I don't rinse my duck before cooking, just pat it dry with towels.

Throwing in my two cents (tuppence??):

I kept confit duck in something similar to a Tupperware (plastic) container, in my fridge, for many months. As long as the meat was well-covered with fat, it was fine. But then, I only keep mine in the fridge; never tried to process it to keep it in the cupboard.

My source of duck fat was other ducks that I cooked by other methods. Either raw globs that I pulled off before cooking, or the strained fat that came off during. Raw fat was kept in the freezer; cooked, in jars in the fridge. And as I've mentioned elsewhere, I treat it like butter -- that is, I "clarify" it and cook out any extraneous water; that seems to increase its keeping properties. I've started my collection for the next batch of confit; this one also includes fat removed from a rabbit. (I top up with butter, olive oil, and/or chicken fat as necessary.)

One question about the jars of potted meat: do you have to worry about filling all the lacunae with fat, or simply make sure the top is completely covered? And since you process the jars, how long? Regular boil or pressure cooker?

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Marvelous demonstration, Culinary Bear! Certainly different from my own, but I believe the next time I do this, I'll try it your way. I don't usually use oranges, but I like a little ginger in mine, but still, those flavors are just mild hints underneath the flavor of the duck.

Like Suzanne F, I also use duck fat that I've saved from cooking duck in other ways. It's just such a treat to cook duck at home that I find excuses to do it as often as possible. I don't know of any places to buy duck or goose fat in Atlanta, outside of a few very expensive boutique purveyors, so it's really not worth it to me.

My question: Do you take the skins and crisp them up in a deep-fryer for cracklings? Perhaps you do, and maybe you want to keep that bit of food pornography for yourself. But there's no harm in my asking, eh?

Darn! Now where is the smilie who's licking his fingers?

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Wow, crisping the skins in a deep fryer is really gilding the lily, no? :shock: I usually find that in the process of rendering the fat, the pieces of skin crisp up very nicely on their own. And if they don't, I just lay them out on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven for a little while.

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This is indeed very cool! (And so is that green pot  :wub:  )  I like the idea of using citrus as an additional flavor element.  I sometimes mix the salt with Herbes de Provence or with ras al hanout, but I don't rinse my duck before cooking, just pat it dry with towels.

Tried that once, and ended up with confit that was far too salty. The pot was a birthday present from a good friend of mine. Needless to say, she gets a jar. :)

My source of duck fat was other ducks that I cooked by other methods. Either raw globs that I pulled off before cooking, or the strained fat that came off during. Raw fat was kept in the freezer; cooked, in jars in the fridge. And as I've mentioned elsewhere, I treat it like butter -- that is, I "clarify" it and cook out any extraneous water; that seems to increase its keeping properties. I've started my collection for the next batch of confit; this one also includes fat removed from a rabbit. (I top up with butter, olive oil, and/or chicken fat as necessary.

Clarified butter though, yes?

One question about the jars of potted meat: do you have to worry about filling all the lacunae with fat, or simply make sure the top is completely covered? And since you process the jars, how long? Regular boil or pressure cooker?

Any large bubbles are best avoided; small ones aren't much of a problem.

The jars are tightly lidded, brought to a gentle simmer in plenty of water, and are then given half an hour. Take them out, unscrew the lids then put them back on (this gives a better seal as the internal contents contract upon cooling) then store in the fridge until set.


Edited by culinary bear (log)

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Happily, as the fat in the legs renders during cooking, the amount of overall fat tends to remain moderately constant. Unless you use some between batches for roast potatoes :)

This lot should last for a good few batches...

My question: Do you take the skins and crisp them up in a deep-fryer for cracklings? Perhaps you do, and maybe you want to keep that bit of food pornography for yourself. But there's no harm in my asking, eh?

Bollocks. My secret's out... *licks lips to remove traces of salt*

Actually, I put them on silpats and in a medium oven till cracklingly crisp.


Edited by culinary bear (log)

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When you say "mature". approximately how long do you mean? When do you notice a change? My confit rarely lasts longer a few weeks in the fridge before I eat it. :biggrin:

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A couple of weeks does good things for the flavour; I don't think there's an epiphanous point. Six months is bloody nice.

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