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Confit Geography


scott123
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I've been thinking about confit lately and how the duck begins surrounded by fat, but, over time, it releases it own juices so that the top of the pot is always cooking in fat, but the very bottom layer, to an extent, stews in it's own juices.

Has anyone noticed the bottom layer, the layer below the water line, tasting any different from the top? Anyone notice a difference in texture?

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I've been using a variant approach to confit, marinating the duck legs for a few hours with a dry rub and minced garlic, wrapping them tightly in packets of heavy-duty foil, and then cooking them for 2-3 hours in a moderate oven.

This generates a good deal of fat and an equal amount of aqueous duck jus, but since everything is in one layer there's no stewing issue.

I save the duck fat (of course). I've been discarding the water solubles, assuming they'd be too salty for use. Seems a shame, though; they're brown and rich-looking, a gel nicely when chilled. Am I discarding a useful product?

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but isnt a point of confit for the juices to slowly cook down into the meat? if they are tightly wrapped in foil and evaporation has no where to go, doesn't that change the overall outcome significantly?

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I suppose that's why it's traditional to salt/dry the duck for a couple days before confiting it, to remove the moisture. I've been thinking about the same thing myself, just made some teriyaki-pork confit and I drained and towel-dried the pork as well as I could before starting.

But you know, what about putting a 1/2" rack at the bottom of the confiting vessel, to hold the meat above the juice that comes out? I would imagne that would be enough to keep the meat cooking in the fat the entire time.

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I save the duck fat (of course).  I've been discarding the water solubles, assuming they'd be too salty for use.  Seems a shame, though; they're brown and rich-looking, a gel nicely when chilled.  Am I discarding a useful product?

I think what you're discarding is what someone else referred to as "duck jelly" - or perhaps "duck jello" - sometime last year. It's good in sauces. Think of it as a demi-glace.

Edited to add: here's the beginning of the discussion about duck jello, in the Confit Duck thread. Farther along you'll find where someone calls it "duck jello", but beginning with my pointer people talk about how to save it and how to use it.

Edited by Smithy (log)

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

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I save the duck fat (of course).  I've been discarding the water solubles, assuming they'd be too salty for use.  Seems a shame, though; they're brown and rich-looking, a gel nicely when chilled.  Am I discarding a useful product?

In my opinion, yes. I always save the "duck jelly" - that rich, brown salty gel, and use it to salt homemade duck, turkey or chicken broths. It salts a stock pot just right, and adds both flavor and color.

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