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culinary bear

Confit Duck

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I have been following this thread with interest. Just prior to leaving on vacation, one of the pilots from Edwards brought me 6 frozen duck carcasses from someplace he had been on a "mission".

Each one has a lable stapled to a foot that says "Rouen Duck" and the weights in pounds and ounces. I assume that since the weights are not metric, these are domestic ducks, however I am unfamilar with this type of duck. They weigh from 9 pounds 2 ounces to 10 pound 4 ounces which is quite large.

Actually, they are huge, the size of a goose but with a more compact body and with a very deep and heavy, enlongated breast as well as good-sized legs and the feet are very bright orange, sort of a pumpkin color.

If anyone is familiar with this type of duck, I would appreciate some information before I thaw one out and start working on it.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Rouen duck are quite large, and traditionally killed by smothering to prevent blood loss from the flesh. They're the ducks used at the Tour d'Argent for Caneton Presse, where your duck is numbered and records kept...


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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It's been 10 1/2 hours at a fairly constant 180' and I just had my first taste. Good flavor, but the texture isn't as melt in the mouth silky as I'd like.

Going to go watch a movie and check back. May turn it down a notch and leave it overnight if it hasn't changed much. I remember tasting a prime rib cooked overnight slowly in an Alto-sham years back that was wonderful. Doesn't seem like it would hurt the duck..............more later.

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So, I'll ask a seeminly stupid question. So you cook the duck. How much of what happens to the texture of confit happens because you "put it up in fat?"

My understanding (limited) is that you cook it, cover it in fat and let it sit for a while. How much of that texture changes during that "let it sit" time?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I think the texture does change as it ages. After a few more hours of cooking, I pulled out another leg and it had more of what I was looking for in tenderness. I let them cool in the bags and they are in the refrigerator now. I used quite a bit of fat as I'm skeptical of the vacuum packaging taking the place of storing in the fat.

There's also more "juice" than I expected. Usually I remove this for storage, but I'm using these in a week, so I don't think it will hurt to leave it in there. I need to remember to bring containers of some sort so I can bring the fat home!

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Mikey,

Are the ducks you are cooking muscovy, moulard or pekin?


“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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So, what was the final timing? It was 10.5 hours, then a "couple" hours more. So, does that mean 12 hours or 14 or ??

This is consistent with what I would guess. Increasing the temperature a little bit might help get the texture better. It may also shorten the time, although this dish is never going to be fast food!


Nathan

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It was a total of 13 hours at 180'. I took a piece out this evening and warmed it up and finished it under the broiler to crisp the skin. Delicious. It wasn't falling apart, which is fine with me, as I want it to have structure when I plate it, but the conective tendons seemed to have disolved.

I'm leaving 2 of the legs home in vacuum pack but the rest will be eaten next week. It will be interesting to see how the aging affects the texture further.

More later..........MK

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So, I'll ask a seeminly stupid question.  So you cook the duck.  How much of what happens to the texture of confit happens because you "put it up in fat?"

My understanding (limited) is that you cook it, cover it in fat and let it sit for a while.  How much of that texture changes during that "let it sit" time?

My very limited (one time!) experience, which was marked by various problems, would seem to suggest that both cooking it in the fat and aging it make a difference. My confit was tender and wonderful, especially the thighs... but it definitely lacked the uber-tender succulence of confit I've had that others made.

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Meat like shank, pork shoulder, butt, etc is all best cooked at the same temperature that you want it to be when it is done, i.e. 180 degrees .

This is not new news. Thirty-odd years ago, many American cooks, including me, were much taken by Adelle Davis's book, Let's Cook it right. We followed her rules for long slow cooking of chicken, veal shanks and pork butts in order to retain maxium nutritional value while obtaining maximum juiciness and flavor. Her method was to roast in an open pan all day, or even up to a full 24 hours at the temperature that you want the meat or poultry to be when done..

She advocated using an oven pilot light to cook shanks, pork butt and even chicken. If she had known about confit I bet she would have included it in her book.

I have seen sous-vide packaging and cooking at low temperature and for extended periods of time used with incredible results to cook lean beef, fish, vegetables, foie gras and calves liver. But I am wondering if confit is really best cooked in the package. It may be just lowering the temperature to get the texture we all love. The taste may or may not be improved.

I worry about the husky mature taste of moulard or pekin duck legs preserved in fat for over a month. This is so rewarding for the work. This still needs to be addressed, but I guess at a later date.

The upside of cooking the duck legs in sousvide is to avoid purchasing all that duck fat.

I am going to order a 6-pack of moulard ducks from preferredmeats.com (East coast readers might want to use Dartagnan.com if they are searching for a purveyor of moulard duck legs, the best choice for confit) and try two legs each in three different ways: in sous-vide in water held at 180 in an electric skillet; the same in the oven in an uncovered pot of water; and in fat without packaging with fat stable at 180. I think I'll start texture- testing with a broom straw at about 10 hours and work from there.


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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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?!).

Where do you live? Shipping a big tub of duck fat can be expensive, but it is obtainable at a reasonable price in NYC. Try Bobo Poultry in Chinatown. They have they have their own poultry farm and will almost certainly order it for you to pick up.


Ruth Friedman

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What kind of ducks did you use? I store confit in fat for storage. If you plan to eat it tomorrow just be sure to cover the flesh completely so it won't lose its silky texture.

I always use the moulard and in a very low oven. Only once I cooked them at 350° and they were tough. I have never used the pekin as their legs are much smaller but if Paula finds them good for the purpose I'll try. By the way they make wonderful gifts. Everyone loves confit but few have the know-how or the will to prepare it. My friends love to receive my duck confit for Christmas.


Ruth Friedman

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Ruth,

I only suggested Pekin if moulard is unavailable.


“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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Thanks for the info on the Rouen or Rhone ducks. I found more information once I used the Rhone designation.

I have one thawing in the refrigerator now, it should be thawed by Saturday and I can decide what to do with most of the bird. I am going to use the usual method for confit with the legs, as I have a lot of duck fat from renderning the fat from the birds that had to be evicted from my big freezer last fall to make room for half a steer.

This duck also looks like it has a lot of fat on it and the legs are huge compared to other ducks I have prepared, but I guess they are in proportion to the size and weight of the bird. Conversely the wings are quite small. Obviously these birds were many generations away from being able to fly. They are so different from the wild birds I so often prepare that they might be a completely different species.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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By the way, and OT, I also do jugged hare, which is quite similar to duck confit in the method of preparation.

As are so many of my recipes, this was my great-grandmother's and we had it often when I was a child. We had a great many unusual foods simply because both she and my grandfather as well as my grandmother loved the foods of an earlier era.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am going to use the usual method for confit with the legs,  as I have a lot of duck fat from renderning the fat from the birds that had to be evicted from my big freezer last fall to make room for half a steer. 

People on eGullet lead such interesting food lives! :biggrin:

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I am going to use the usual method for confit with the legs,  as I have a lot of duck fat from renderning the fat from the birds that had to be evicted from my big freezer last fall to make room for half a steer. 

People on eGullet lead such interesting food lives! :biggrin:

It isn't that interesting. I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) I prepare it so they can take it home, put it in the oven (or however it is to be cooked) and in return I get a portion of the game which could be anything from quail to geese and pheasant and then from deer, elk, moose, wild boar and anything in between.

The only think I do not do is bear. One time was enough, took me months to get rid of the aroma.

The last of a wild boar was prepared as carnitas with verde sauce for an eG potluck last October.

The most exotic thing I have cooked is a swan, not game, this one was raised specifically for the table. I didn't particularly want any part of it but tasted it and it wasn't bad.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It isn't that interesting.  I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) 

As long I live, I'll remember a piece of advice given to me when I visited very, VERY rural upstate NY in the fall.

"Allan, if you go out walking, try to look as little like game as possible".

The only think I do not do is bear. One time was enough, took me months to get rid of the aroma.

no comment. :)


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've been traveling of late, so could only participate vicariously. Now that I'm home let the experiments begin! :biggrin:

Twelve Moulard leg/thigh quarters, marinating in salt (per Paula's ratio), black pepper, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary. The aromatics are according to André Daguin's recipe in Foie Gras, Magret, and Other Good Food From Gascony. That's the recipe I've followed in the past, so I'll stick by it for now (interesting citrus-y suggestions by Allan CB notwithstanding).

Fridge full of vacuum-packed marinating duck:

gallery_12922_578_1105228869.jpg

Bleary close-up showing cloves impaled in garlic, etc.

gallery_12922_578_1105230205.jpg

The juices are just beginning to flow, after several hours in the bag. I've been massaging the bags :wacko: every hour or so trying to get the marinating juices to distribute evenly. I'll open the bags tomorrow to rinse the salt off before repackaging the legs for sous vide processing.

As MKLynch would say, more to follow.... :wink:

Edited to add: That last shot is so bleary you can't even see the cloves imbedded in the garlic. At least the bay leaves and rosemary are big enough to show up in my crappy pic. :sad:


Edited by edsel (log)

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It isn't that interesting.  I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) 

As long I live, I'll remember a piece of advice given to me when I visited very, VERY rural upstate NY in the fall.

"Allan, if you go out walking, try to look as little like game as possible".

no comment. :)

I can relate by personal experience. I have a large scar where my left thigh meets my hip where I was shot while deer hunting when I was 16. We were on private land, and there should have been no other hunters around. Fortunately the shot came from a great distance as it was a 30:30 slug and didn't do any serious damage. Actually the doctor who removed it did more damage than the shot itself. Another fortunate thing was that it was near zero (Wisconsin) and I didn't bleed much initially.

I was wearing bright orange!!!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It isn't that interesting.  I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) 

As long I live, I'll remember a piece of advice given to me when I visited very, VERY rural upstate NY in the fall.

"Allan, if you go out walking, try to look as little like game as possible".

no comment. :)

I can relate by personal experience. I have a large scar where my left thigh meets my hip where I was shot while deer hunting when I was 16. We were on private land, and there should have been no other hunters around. Fortunately the shot came from a great distance as it was a 30:30 slug and didn't do any serious damage. Actually the doctor who removed it did more damage than the shot itself. Another fortunate thing was that it was near zero (Wisconsin) and I didn't bleed much initially.

I was wearing bright orange!!!

Andie, you forgot to shout "I! Am! Not! A! Dear!!! I! Am! Not! Venison! I Am A Human Being!!!!!"

Might have worked...

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It isn't that interesting.  I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) 

As long I live, I'll remember a piece of advice given to me when I visited very, VERY rural upstate NY in the fall.

"Allan, if you go out walking, try to look as little like game as possible".

no comment. :)

I can relate by personal experience. I have a large scar where my left thigh meets my hip where I was shot while deer hunting when I was 16. We were on private land, and there should have been no other hunters around. Fortunately the shot came from a great distance as it was a 30:30 slug and didn't do any serious damage. Actually the doctor who removed it did more damage than the shot itself. Another fortunate thing was that it was near zero (Wisconsin) and I didn't bleed much initially.

I was wearing bright orange!!!

Andie, you forgot to shout "I! Am! Not! A! Dear!!! I! Am! Not! Venison! I Am A Human Being!!!!!"

Might have worked...

Which is why cows have the word cow painted on them during deer season. :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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It isn't that interesting.  I happen to get a lot of wild game because I prepare game for hunters whose wifes can't or won't learn to fix it. (There are a lot of hunters around my area.) 

As long I live, I'll remember a piece of advice given to me when I visited very, VERY rural upstate NY in the fall.

"Allan, if you go out walking, try to look as little like game as possible".

no comment. :)

I can relate by personal experience. I have a large scar where my left thigh meets my hip where I was shot while deer hunting when I was 16. We were on private land, and there should have been no other hunters around. Fortunately the shot came from a great distance as it was a 30:30 slug and didn't do any serious damage. Actually the doctor who removed it did more damage than the shot itself. Another fortunate thing was that it was near zero (Wisconsin) and I didn't bleed much initially.

I was wearing bright orange!!!

Andie, you forgot to shout "I! Am! Not! A! Dear!!! I! Am! Not! Venison! I Am A Human Being!!!!!"

Might have worked...

Which is why cows have the word cow painted on them during deer season. :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Unfortunately some of the idiots who go out hunting become infected with "buck fever" which renders them unable to read or comprehend anything other than something moving (or not moving for that matter) needs to be shot at.

Besides the house in town, my folks in Wisconsin also had a miniscule farm with a big old farmhouse (built in 1901) with a couple of life-size bronze deer in the front yard. I can't begin to calculate how many times we heard a bullet hit those deer, particularly during the holidays when we had garlands of greenery and lights strung between them and over them. They were at the bottom of a slope below the house, with a wall at the top of the slope, otherwise the house would probably have been struck many times also.

My stepdad used to go out on the porch and fire a 12 guage into the air to discourage shooters. He had calculated just where to aim so that the bird shot would patter onto the tops of cars and trucks. With the way the front of the house was built, standing in front of the fireplace wall, it made a huge BOOM that sounded more like a cannon that a shotgun. That tended to discourage unwanted visitors, but also scared the cows down in the barn, with the usual results.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am home again, after a day and a half of babysitting at someone else's home.

I had planned to start a batch of confit today but this damm duck is still frozen solid after 2 1/2 days in the refrigerator. Apparently they were flash-frozen with an ice glaze, but whatever, this one doesn't seem to want to thaw. I may have to resort to running cold water in a container but hate to do this as I feel it degrades the meat.

For now it is just going to have to continue to occupy one of the refrigerator drawers all by itself.

The flesh looks very dark, almost blue, under the skin. The little that is exposed where the neck was cut is a deep maroon color.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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