Duck confit is like kitchen gold. The ancient method of preserving poultry in fat is not hard, but does take a bit of time. Confiting is the technique of poaching duck legs and thighs in their own fat. The gentle heat transfer ensures that the meat will retain moisture and flavor. Poaching poultry in water is not the same. The fat molecules are too large to penetrate, which is not the case with water. The water actually dries out the meat, whereas the fat keeps the meat juicy. The meat is then stored in the fat where it attains even more flavor and can be preserved for as long as 6 months. Once made, the confit can be served as a garnish, salad, entrée or appetizer. I keep a couple of jars in my home refrigerator and “buckets” of confit at work. After the work is done (most of the time spent confiting, you can be doing other things) the confit can be quickly made into delicious and flavorful dishes.
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- Duck Legs
- 6 duck legs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Several sprigs of thyme
- Several parsley stems
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 cups of duck fat, melted
1. Pulse the bay leaves, thyme, parsley stems, nutmeg and peppercorns in a food processor.
2. Spread the herb mix on the duck legs and refrigerate unwrapped overnight or for up to 2 days.
3. Wipe off the herbs and place the duck legs and garlic in a shallow casserole or Dutch oven.
4. Preheat oven to 200 ̊F.
5. Pour the fat over the duck legs. Place the pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Cook for 3-4 hours or until the skin has begun to shrink away from the bone. The meat will look cooked through and the leg and thigh portion will be firm.
6. Cool the pan before trying to remove the duck. gently remove the legs and place in a container for storage in the refrigerator (I use re-tasked cleaned and sterilized jars). pour the fat through a strainer and directly into the jars to cover the legs.
7. Seal the cooled jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
8. After the confit has been stored for several days, a dark jelly substance will gather at the bottom of the jars. This jelly is loaded with flavor and body and is the by-product of the confit process. Add the jelly to your soups and stews as a flavor base.
Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Magazine Spring 2013 SUBSCRIBE NOW