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Thanks for your answers.

Yes, of course clarified butter, if necessary. And yes, my confit is sometimes a bit too salty; do you think if I rinse the pieces I won't lose too much of the spicing?

And OF COURSE -- the cracklings are the reward of the chef!! :laugh: When I mentioned this all to HWOE at dinner tonight, he was aghast that I never even let on that I had them around. :shock: Hey, I do the work, I get the gribenes, as they are called in Yiddish.

PS: love the little bear in whites :wub:

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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Lovely, culinarybear. I use dry marinade and thereby skipping the rinsing bit. As it is cheaper to buy the whole duck, the breasts are cooked a few days earlier while the legs are left in the marinade for confit. I think I left it in the dry marinade for...like 4 or 5 days. The fat goes for the confit and the remaining duck for the sauce...sauce Perigeux(madeira sauce + truffles) if you can get truffles, that is... I dry marinade for the confit with just aromatic herbs, garlic and salt. sugar too! thats it. looking at your version and if i still try to keep it a dry marinade, lemon zest will probably be a good addition. I confit duck legs over the stove top. I dont keep time tho'...just have to make sure that the duck fat doesnt 'boil' or bubble over. I keep the shape of the leg. Cooking it a little longer like yours will make it even more tender and i am afraid i have never done that. now, i will! It is the same as rillettes, no?

And oh...the classical pairing of Pommes Sarladaises with the confit. Trim a potato like a barrel. Thinly slice it and blanch them first so its semi cooked. Infuse duck fat with crushed garlic. The sliced potatos are arranged tart style. Keep building the layers with generous splashes of garlic infused duck fat. Layers weighed down and cooked until the bottom is nicely coloured. et voila! duck leg confit with pommes sarladaises and perigeux sauce! remaining duck leg(if its still there, it can lay around in goose fat until eternity) passed on for the cassoulet for the next week or the next month or whenever. the politics of the cassoulet are too complicated. toulouse cassoulet is a simple assembly of lamb, duck and haricot beans. with garlic sausage if you can get it. i dont do the breadcrumb thingy nor do i break the crust. Accompaniments of polenta and creamed morels.

p.s. Thanks for the pictures!

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My technique is closer to Suzanne's than to Culinary Bear's--and like Suzanne, I don't pick and process the meat, I leave it on the bone in the fat in the fridge. It keeps a looong time. I buy a duck maybe once or twice a month, cut it up, sear the breasts for salads, turn the bones into stock, and confit the legs. Here's a quick rundown of my method:

When cutting up the duck, cut off any excess skin you can find. Render the skin to get duck fat. I render it by putting it in a small pot and heating it over low heat on the stovetop. It takes about two hours to render every last bit of fat out of the skin. Generally, the skin from a single duck is barely enough to confit two legs...though you might need to add a quarter-cup or so of olive oil to top them off. When it's done rendering, salt and eat the gribenes standing over the stove, keeping an eye out for wayward spouses. :unsure:

I rub the legs generously with kosher salt, and put them in a shallow dish in the fridge with some fresh thyme sprigs and cracked black peppercorns. I let it cure 24-48 hours in there.

Pull the legs out of the fridge and pour off any expressed liquid. I usually wipe the legs down thoroughly with damp paper towels, but I guess you could rinse them to be absolutely certain they aren't too salty. Then I pack them into a small casserole I own that is the perfect shape and size for confiting two duck legs. Place them skin-side up. I gently warm the duck fat I rendered yesterday, just until it's clear, and then I pour it over the duck legs. I make sure the duck legs are completely covered with fat--I have a collection of duck fat in the freezer I can raid to top it off, or I can add a few spoonfuls from the confit container in the fridge. Use good olive oil if you don't have extra duck fat laying about and need to top off the casserole. I add a few fresh sprigs of thyme (I adore thyme). I lay the lid that fits the casserole on top, and place the casserole on a sheet pan to catch any drips. (I failed to do this once and only once. Lesson learned. Duck fat on the oven floor REEKS when you crank your oven to 450 to roast meats)

The casserole then goes into a 250 degree oven for several hours--at least three. I check for doneness by looking at it and seeing how much the meat has retreated from the bottom of the drumstick, and by wiggling the bones to see if they are pretty much loosened from the meat. If the bones move from the meat easily, you're golden. Let the confit cool to room temperature before sticking the whole thing in the fridge. I have a confit container in the fridge, so I warm it briefly in the microwave, dump the contents into a bowl, put the new confit in the bottom of the container and the old confit back on top so it gets used first. Make sure it's covered in the fat while stored.

I use confit primarily in salads, usually frisee salads with nuts and some kind of dried or roasted fruit. This way, one leg serves four or five people. I like to stretch my confit and resist just eating a whole leg of it. I used about five of my legs up when I made a big salad for my birthday party last month, so I feel confit-deficient right now and am especially inclined to stretch the remaining supply.

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Three comments I would like to add:

In the French South-West kitchen, I learned that salt must be precisely measured when preserving meat and poultry for confit. If you have made confit and it came out too salty, the fault may have been the salt rather than the amount. Some salts salt more than other salts, I use Diamond Crystal Kosher and measure 22 grams per pound which works perfectly.

I, too, wash off the spicing. I don't think it is necessary to leave any on when cooking in the fat.

My technique is similar to Suzanne's and Malawary as well. Keep in mind Culinary Bear is using Muscovy legs. These take about one hour longer to cook than the moulard and two hours longer than the Pekin which might explain the lengthy cooking time and the easy breaking up of the flesh.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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let me share a great sauce for confit warm with a salad and good bread:

carmelize a few small onions slowly and put in blender with a touch of sriracha sauce and about a cup of saba,,,blend until smooth and drizzle aroundyour wilted salad and warmed confit. if your not familar with sabe its the unfermented grape juice that they use to make balsalmic vinegar. they cook it down and sell it as saba. it has a sweet,,pruny flavor. enjoy! p.s.,,,hi paula!

Edited by iriee (log)
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I like the exchanges this thread has prompted. :)

For the record, my duck legs were coming in about 300g each (that's about 11oz for all you luddites). :smile:

I have in the past used Reg Johnson's Goosnargh duck legs with fantastic results, but you'll never manage to get hold of them outside the UK.

I usually store the legs whole; this is what I'm doing with the second batch of ten legs. The first batch I potted as the picked meat because they're going to be given as presents and some friends have an aversion to food that looks like a Damien Hirst installation... :rolleyes:

A tip I forgot to mention, by the way : when you've lifted the legs out of the pan of fat, you'll notice there's liquid at the bottom of the pan underneath the fat layer. This is a fantastically flavoursome gelatinous stock and shouldn't be wasted. It's easy to separate if you pour the whole lot into a TIGHTLY lidded jar (I use a 4 litre / 1 U.S. gallon pickle jar), put the lid on, and then store this upside down in the fridge until set. When set, turn the right way up, and your jellied stock is sitting obediently on top of the solid fat.

I must admit to spreading this jelly on hot toast as a snack.

Oh, okay, then. With a little of the fat too. :smile:

Edited by culinary bear (log)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I'm glad you mentioned the "stock" at the bottom of the pot. I save it, too (how could one NOT???), although I freeze it as my fridge is already filled to overflowing with a multitude of condiments. It is a great addition to other duck dishes, such as the (overly)braised duck I made last week -- just as I would add glace.

And Paula, thanks for the tip on measuring.

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You can make a 'mini-rillette' with the debris that falls to the bottom of the pot. Be sure to season liberally with pepper and blend with some of the cloudy fat. Like CB I smear it on toast.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Reading this, I'm totally inspired to make duck confit. I don't know whether I should thank you or curse you. :laugh:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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A tip I forgot to mention, by the way :  when you've lifted the legs out of the pan of fat, you'll notice there's liquid at the bottom of the pan underneath the fat layer.  This is a fantastically flavoursome gelatinous stock and shouldn't be wasted.  It's easy to separate if you pour the whole lot into a TIGHTLY lidded jar (I use a 4 litre / 1 U.S. gallon pickle jar), put the lid on, and then store this upside down in the fridge until set.  When set, turn the right way up, and your jellied stock is sitting obediently on top of the solid fat.

Oh my, how brilliant! I can't believe I've never thought of that. Usually, I'm dealing with the bit of chicken stock at the bottom of the container of chicken fat strained from stockmaking. Just store it upside down! Duh. :smacks forehead:

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The obvious requirement is a high level of confidence in the ability of your lid to stay on the container. The pickle jar is tried and trusted; I wouldn't like to mop up a few quarts of warm duck fat from the carpet. :)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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The obvious requirement is a high level of confidence in the ability of your lid to stay on the container.  The pickle jar is tried and trusted; I wouldn't like to mop up a few quarts of warm duck fat from the carpet. :)

You mean you don't have a commis at home as well. :raz:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Reading this, I'm totally inspired to make duck confit.  I don't know whether I should thank you or curse you.  :laugh:

The short term is irrelevant. Make enough to sit in a corner of the fridge all winter and when you warm up a couple of drumsticks and make pommes persilladier one cold March night -- about 15 minutes work for a great meal -- you'll be damn glad for your work this week.

Remebering the confit in the fridge is like finding a couple crumples twenties in an old coat.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Would this work with wild duck? My son just got back from a hunt with his daily limit of six ducks. There were different limits for different species, so he has a mix of species. I spoke to him on the phone and he already had the breasts parted out, but was unsure what to do with the legs. I emailed him the link to this thread, so he may chime in.

Jim

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Would this work with wild duck? My son just got back from a hunt with his daily limit of six ducks. There were different limits for different species, so he has a mix of species. I spoke to him on the phone and he already had the breasts parted out, but was unsure what to do with the legs. I emailed him the link to this thread, so he may chime in.

Jim

I think it would make very tasty confit. The only problem I can imagine is getting your hands on enough fat to cook them. Wild birds are lean.

In the French Southwest where confit is King most wild birds are 'put up' in salmis. This is a long simmered red wine based stew traditionally stored in jars for use later on in the year. And like confit the flavor gets better with time.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I always have a supply of duck confit on hand. Nothing is more versatile, or keeps longer. I most recently replenished my supply on Christmas eve when I confited the legs and thighs of 13 ducks. Most of what I say below has been covered upthread but bears repeating.

You should never have to "find" rendered duck fat. Make your own. Buy whole ducks for a while. Bone out the breasts to serve on festive occasions or at dinner parties. Remove the legs and thighs for confit. Trim the excess fat off the breasts and legs and trim the fat and skin from the carcass. Save the carcass, wings, neck and gizzard for stock (or confit the gizzards). Saute the livers for a quick snack. With a bit of practice, you should be able to break down a duck like this in under 5 minutes.

I take all the duck parts that I am not using immediately, wrap them separately and freeze them. My freezer is usually chock full of packages that say "duck fat" or "3 duck carcasses." When those items fill up their appointed space, it is time to make duck stock (reduced to a glace and frozen for later use) and rendered fat. I almost always make both these things at the same time.

Render the fat over very low heat at a bare simmer for a couple of hours; strain; and cool. Done; you have rendered duck fat. It will keep in the freezer until the end of time. Once you have a base inventory of rendered fat built up, you will never need to acquire more -- unless you give too much away to your firends for whom the process is too much (not eGulleteers, obviously).

Don't throw away the stuff inthe strainer. Make cracklings from the strained out skin and bits.

My curing rub for confit always contains lots of juniper berries and a bit of allspice along with thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

About that juice that sits under the fat after confiting the legs, my freezer has several containers marked simply "duck jello." It does an incredible job enriching poultry based sauces. Be careful, it will be quite salty with the concentration varying with how much curing salt your duck absorbed.

Now that I have typed all this, I am sure that there is a similar thread from more than a year ago. I recall another member asking me if he could incorporate into his signature something I said in that thread -- along the lines of:

Duck -- eat everything but the quack.

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I'm an now the proud possessor of 4 duck legs and 2 pounds of duck fat. Now to cure the legs and start the process.

Yeah!

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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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.

I have a jar of duck foie gras in the fridge also covered in fat, do you think the same holds true? I'd like to have some on new years eve but I know we won't eat it all! will I be able to just take what I need and cover the rest and use it within a few weeks?

Also I'm making the cassoulet too and just confit'ed my duck legs. Les Halles called for cooking them at 375F for 1 hour. This is much different. What are your thoughts on that?

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Les Halles called for cooking them at 375F for 1 hour. This is much different. What are your thoughts on that?

I need this question answered as well.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I just ordered the Bourdain book so I can't comment on the kind of duck legs he is using for confit .

Keep in mind that Muscovy legs take about one hour longer to cook than the moulard and two hours longer than the Pekin which might explain the lengthy cooking time of some recipes.

In the meantime, I put up some Muscovy legs to make confit tomorrow. I will use my crockpot and I expect it will take about 7 to 8 hours on low to arrive at the tender, flavor-packed flesht that I like.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Well I used Muscovy and they took 1 hour 10 mins at 375F. I know they are done by the sight of them...I have eaten A LOT of duck confit in these 36 years (tee hee). I know there is a reduction of time because in cassoulet they will cook again and also the temp is higher than chefs 200F. hmmmm...still curious though....

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