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Duck Confit - Traditional Roast
A traditional way of preserving poultry, game and meat through the winter months, in South-Western France.
The food is salted and sometimes flavoured with herbs, before being very gently simmered in duck or goose fat until tender. It is then 'potted' and covered by its cooking fat, and can be extracted as desired.
Food cooked in this way will naturally have a salty taste. Here is a good version of Duck Confit, it's very good with Red wine and Shallot Sauce (q.v.) served on the side - but not poured over.
The dish must be started a day ahead.
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For 4 duck legs:
1 pint/500ml Duck or Goose fat (available from good supermarkets and deli’s (this can be topped up with lard, if necessary – so it’s good to have some at hand)
4 Duck, leg/thigh portions
½ medium Onion, peeled and roughly-chopped
1 medium Carrot, peeled and roughly-chopped
1 Shallot, peeled and quartered (optional)
2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly-chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1 sprig of fresh Thyme or 1 pinch of dried Thyme
1 sprig of fresh Tarragon or 1 pinch of dried Tarragon
1 strip of Orange Rind
1 teaspoon (5ml) Black Peppercorns
4 Allspice Berries, slightly crushed
4 tablespoons (60ml) Course Sea Salt
1. Put the duck in a glass bowl or stainless steel saucepan, and add all the other ingredients apart from the fat – toss all around, then refrigerate for about 12 hours, turning occasionally.
2. The next day, remove the duck leg from their marinade and set them aside.
3. Melt the fat gently then add the duck legs and vegetables, but none of the residual liquid.
4. Cook on the top of the cooker for 2-3 hours with the fat barely rippling or in the oven at 150ºC/300ºF/Gas 2, until a small sharp knife enters easily.
5. Remove the duck pieces carefully with a perforated spoon.
This can be grilled now, skin-side-up (until the skin crisps) and served (possibly with the sauce mentioned above, or with a simple salad)– or potted, and kept in a cool place for many months covered with its cooking mixture – a kilner-type jar is ideal for this.
If grilling immediately, more duck legs can be simply salted for 12 hours, and the fat and vegetable mixture re-used.