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Confit Duck


culinary bear
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I am not surprised by the orange fat.  When you cook things in a sous vide bag, the various aromatics you put in the bag become extremely concentrated.

[snip!]

It is possible that this also contributes to the waxy smell you report.  Goose fat should not be a problem at all - in fact confit d'oie - confit of goose leg - is a traditional preparation in France.

The orange fat was what I wound up with after cooking Batch 1 in a big pot in the oven as I've done in the past. Ditto the goose fat smell. I was quite surprised that one orange slightly smaller than a baseball could tint that much fat to that color. No citrus in the sous vide experiment since I want to compare this to some "standard confit" that I made a couple of weeks back.

I have been toying around with the idea of confit d'oie, but goose legs aren't exactly easy to come by (most geese available for sale at this time are solidly frozen).

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  • 1 month later...

Ok, I'm only a month late to this party, and I didn't read past the first post before starting, so I've made just about every "mistake" cited here. I'm not feeling deterred (yet), though.

I marinated my duck legs according to culinarybear's recipe. I didn't have enough duck fat to cover them, but I did have home-rendered pork lard which is sweet and pure in smell and flavor, so I added all I had of that. Still wasn't enough, so I topped it off with olive oil. So right there, one could worry.

Add to that the fact that my duck fat was rendered from roasting ducks, something I've always done and never contemplated not doing. If there's no burned flavor, and the resulting fat is ivory/pale golden, what exactly is the problem with this practice?

Now it's in a 200 degree oven in the LeCreuset, and although I was planning 12-14 hours, now that I've read the thread I'll start testing it late this afternoon. I'm going to be pulling all the meat off the bone, so I'll probably want to cook it longer than I would if I were going to serve whole legs.

About those cracklings, if one doesn't just eat them all up (I didn't) what is their highest and best use post-rendering? I have them in the fridge and was thinking of heating them in a hot oven, and then putting them on/in something, but what?

I also used a blood orange, that being the only sort I had in the house. I'm thinking that between all the thyme, garlic, and citrus, that I probably won't be able to save and re-use the fat, which in itself was a new idea for me. What do you all recommend? It's a trinity of fats, rendered from roasting in one case, and flavored with assorted aromatics - just dump it?

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If it smells sweet and clean, I would just strain it and store it in the fridge to use for cooking and for making more confit.

re: the fat from roasted ducks. Most people roast ducks at high heat and that can cause the fat to break down in an unhealthy way. You can smell it if it's off.

Someone out there can explain the science to you.

undefinedAbout those cracklings, if one doesn't just eat them all up (I didn't) what is their highest and best use post-rendering? I have them in the fridge and was thinking of heating them in a hot oven, and then putting them on/in something, but what?

you might want to gently heat the cracklings and toss them into a greens salad.

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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ACK! Don't dump that lovely fat! If it tastes good, treasure it. I don't think you made a "mistake." You were being "resourceful." :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Oh yum, red cabbage sauteed in duck fat with all those additions, including my own homemade red wine vinegar, sounds delectable.

After 5 1/2 hours, the legs have miles to go before they sleep. I'll check again in about 6 more hours.

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  • 1 month later...

*bump*

OK, I've acquired 2 ducks (White Pekin, the only thing I can find locally) and cooked one using Wolfert's Slow-roasted Duck with Olive Sauce recipe, from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. The plan has been to use that duck fat to augment the rest and get started on duck confit. I've been reading and re-reading this thread, and will continue to do so before I ask ALL my tom-fool questions, but I'll ask a couple now.

I plan to pick the meat off the bones and pot it, a la Culinary Bear's original post, instead of leaving the legs intact. With that in mind, is there a reason not to cut up and cook the entire duck for confit? If so, what is it? If I break the duck up and just confit those two legs, reserving the rest for other purposes, should I remove the skin from those and render it? Then it seems I'd be short-changing the breasts in their glory.

Alternatively, should I forget about confiting any of this duck? I've read that Pekin isn't the best duck for this, but I'm reluctant to try the mail-order route first time out of the box.

Advice will be welcome, and I apologize if I've missed the answers somewhere in this amazing thread. I'm new as a freshly-hatched chick to this business.

Nancy

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Hi Smithy,

there are better things to do with the breast than put them through the processing of confit. Just marinate them in a herb salt mix for a night and grill them just the way you would do a steak.

The legs are better when braised or simmered in fat as for confit

If you do my sousvide method (with the help of nathanm) with the peking I think you won't need any extra fat but be sure to cook it at 180 degrees for about 8 hours and then immediately ice the packet down.

If you need more hand holding don't hesitate to ask.

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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It appears to me that confit serves two purposes:

1. Provide a rich, silky texture to the meat in question

2. Preserve the meat by storing it in fat, which process not only preserves it but allows it to age safely.

I have a boil-in-bag system, old, that will seal foods in pouches but will not vacuum-pack them first. If I were to try the confit method in those, and then ice them down immediately after the long slow cooking, I would presumably accomplish the first objective above. Would it help with the second objective? Would I gain anything by using sous vide if I plan to pot the meat later? Or is that a silly thing to do with only 2 duck legs?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It appears to me that confit serves two purposes:

[]Here is the third and the most important reason:

3. Develop a wonderful mature, husky flavor by aging

I have a boil-in-bag system, old, that will seal foods in pouches but will not vacuum-pack them first. If I were to try the confit method in those, and then ice them down immediately after the long slow cooking, I would presumably accomplish the first objective above
.

Yes, but take it out of the bag immediately.

]

would it accomplish the first objective above

No, not safe

undefinedWould I gain anything by using sous vide if I plan to pot the meat later?

yes and no. You would obtain a great texture, but you would still need enough fat to pot it down

undefinedOr is that a silly thing to do with only 2 duck legs?

No, not at all, you have to start somewhere

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 have a jar of confit (12 legs) in the cellar destined for my best friend - it's now three months old and waiting for the trip North. :)

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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  • 2 weeks later...

I made my first batch of confit this weekend, this thread was an invaluable resource. The hardest part will be waiting for it to age properly...

By the way, another use for leftover fat (with brown bits and herbs floating in it) is to use that instead of evoo in pasta with garlic and parsley. It's really good!

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rather than investing in a seal-in-plastic machine, can I do the sous vide by putting things in a heavy ZipLoc bag, making sure to squeeze all the air out?

Has anyone tried this?

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I haven't, but you'd have to make sure that it had a very sturdy seal. I can't think of an overwhelming reason why it wouldn't work if carefully done.

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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undefined I was wondering if anyone uses pork fat to confit their duck legs. I have a friend who worked at Bruneau's in Brussels and he swore by them. I have yet to take the plunge and try it myself 

I've mixed pork fat with duck fat and it is even better.

undefined Rather than investing in a seal-in-plastic machine, can I do the sous vide by putting things in a heavy ZipLoc bag, making sure to squeeze all the air out?

I am sure you can. Don't forget to ice down the packets as soon as they are finished cooking. If you don't use them within a day or two you really need to open them up and repack to avoid any kind of bacterial buildup.

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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SALT: Question for Paula Wolfert.

You say use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and measure 22 grams per pound. Can I measure by volume? How many tablespoons of Diamond Crystal per pound of meat? (I'm aware that kosher salt weighs less per volume than ordinary salt, and the two brands of kosher salt are also different).

Would 1-1/2 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal per pound be about right? How about 1 tablespoon of regular salt?

Edited by k43 (log)
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This is how I've worked it out for my upcoming revision of the FSW

Note the differences in weight between common salts in the marketplace.

* 1 tablespoon fine table salt equals 21 grams

*1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt equals 17 grams

* 1 tablespoon imported Maldon sea salt equals 14 grams

* 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal coarse kosher salt and imported Grey Sea Salt from the Ile de Re equals 12 grams

“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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  • 4 months later...

Hi eGulleters,

I put up my first batch of confit in January (thanks for the great instructions and play-by-play photos). My first jar was good (not quite great, though), in May, and I hoped to use the 2nd today. However, I just checked it closely, and noticed a small spot of green, powdery mold on the side of the jar!! I can't find info in any of my books on what to do in this case.

So, what to do?? If I won't endanger my life (after all, I am a mom), could I try to cut the 'bad part' off the leg and not worry about the rest? Or, throw away the whole piece altogether, and see if the other piece in the jar is OK? Can I let my nose be my guide in this case?

And the 'Car Talk' part of the question -- as in, pertaining to the confit, but not really -- I promised to cook it for a date, an ex-chef! So...do I try to salvage my efforts, and hope it's charming? Find the best confit in town, and make a quick switch? Or just go pick up a couple of NY steaks?

Thanks! And bon appetit to all!

-Alison

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I just put up some duck legs to confit tomorrow. Last time I used Culinary Bear's recipe, this time I'm trying Paula's. I'm thinking they'll be perfect by the holidays, and I'd love to hear some favorite, splurge-y holiday-type recipes using duck confit (besides what's already upthread.) I have some folks to feed who love big red wines. What confit treats would you suggest to go with their Leonetti Cab??

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I just put up some duck legs to confit tomorrow.  Last time I used Culinary Bear's recipe, this time I'm trying Paula's.  I'm thinking they'll be perfect by the holidays, and I'd love to hear some favorite, splurge-y holiday-type recipes using duck confit (besides what's already upthread.)  I have some folks to feed who love big red wines.  What confit treats would you suggest to go with their Leonetti Cab??

I actually put up my confit (using Paula's recipe) two weeks ago. I would actually stay away from Cabs for confit and stick with Pinots. Unless it is a well-aged Cab (at least 15 or so years), I think that the heft and fruit-forwardness of a Cab will overpower the subtlety of the flavors of the confit. That is why Pinot is such a great match; it has the structure and heightened acidity to counter the fat as well as complement the earthiness in the aged meat.

I am planning on an extensive Pinot tasting with this year's cassoulet (which is why I made my confit). However Paula made me an oven-browned confit served with a sauce that contained golden raisins she had macerated in her homemade walnut liqueur... I'm grateful I put my confit up in two batches -- one for the confit and one for this other recipe (except that I don't have the liqueur).

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gallery_8703_782_84020.jpgAbra: if you're using a home vacuum packing system such as foodsaver, rather than a professional chefs' system, it's best to serve the duck within one week. (More sophisticated machines allow chefs to keep refrigerated confit in pouches in

the refrigerator for many months.) If, for whatever reason, a refrigerated pouch begins to puff up, discard at once. Bagged sous-vide duck legs prepared with a home vacuum packing system can be frozen for longer storage or transferred to a pot of duck fat and simmered for about ten minutes before packing for longer storage. The latter is what I do and I get the best of both worlds.

The photo below is of a moulard duck that was place skin-side up on a rack set over a baking pan, roasted until crisp and brown in a 400 F oven, about 30 minutes.

gallery_8703_782_84020.jpg

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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Paula, no vacuum here, just plain old duck fat immersion. It's Muscovy legs that I'm doing, and I'm going to try to keep them intact, although I imagine that some app would take shredded meat.

Carolyn, I'm with you on the pinot with confit, that sounds a lot better. The trouble is that this guy has all these huge cabs, principally Leonetti, but also Kistler, and I'm having a horrible time with the food pairing, since I'm more of an Old-World red person. This is veering off topic, but I'd love your advice.

I'm making homemade raisins with what I think are wine grapes see them here, and I did make vin de noix this summer, although I don't yet know if it turned out. Wow, what a gorgeous idea to combine these with confit, with a little something creamy, like a little confit stroganoff.

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Carolyn, I'm with you on the pinot with confit, that sounds a lot better.  The trouble is that this guy has all these huge cabs, principally Leonetti, but also Kistler, and I'm having a horrible time with the food pairing, since I'm more of an Old-World red person.  This is veering off topic, but I'd love your advice.

Such a pity it isn't a KISTLER pinot! Those are terribly hard to come by and quite exceptional... Start a new thread in the wine forum on Cab pairings and we'll help you out!

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  • 1 month later...

What to do with the fat ??

I keep making confit and save the fat and use it for the next batch. At the risk of sounding stupid, what else can I do with the fat. I am starting to have quite a bit and do not know what else to do with it. My confit "skills" are self taught so I do not have the benefit of anyone telling me what to do with it.

Any ideas ?

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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