Confit de Canard Preserved Duck Legs with Demonstration Video with Darina Allen
Confit is an almost exclusively French way of preserving. First the meat is salted and then it is cooked, long and slowly in the fat. Originally confit was made to preserve meat, particularly goose and duck for the winter,but nowadays this essentially peasant dish has become very fashionable. We sell Nora Ahern's duck, full duck, legs or breasts in our Farm Shop at the Cookery School.
4 duck legs, preferably free range (or 2 legs and 2 breasts or the equivalentamount of goose)
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black peppercorns
afew gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 crumbled bay leaf
900g(2lb) duck or goose fat
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Cut the legs off the duck carcass. *(use the carcass to make duck stock). The breasts can also be used for confit but you may prefer to use them for another recipe.
Rub the duck legs all over with a cut clove of garlic, mix the salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme and bay leaf together, sprinkle the duck legs sparingly with the salt mixture and put into an earthenware dish. Cover and leave overnight in a cold larder or fridge.
Cut every scrap of fat off the duck carcasses - you will need about 900g(2lbs). Render the fat in a low oven, strain and keep aside.*
Next day, melt the fat on a low heat in a wide saucepan. Wash the cure off the duck legs, dry and put them into the fat - there should be enough to cover the duck pieces. Bring to the boil, add the herbs and garlic, simmer on a low heat until the duck is very tender (about 1-1 1/2 hours - a bamboo skewer should go through the thickest part of the leg with no resistance).
Remove the duck legs from the fat. Strain it, leave it to rest for a few minutes and then pour the fat off the meat juices. When the duck is cold pack into a sterilised earthenware crock or jar, pour the cool fat over so that the pieces are completely submerged and store in the fridge until needed. (Leave for at least a week to mature. When needed melt the fat to remove the confit).
Serve hot and crisp on a selection of salad leaves garnished with freshly chopped herbs, e.g. parsley, chives and wild garlic flowers and marigold leaves if available.