Thursday, 25 February 2010

Steamed Quick Duck Confit

Confit is one of France’s finest gifts to humanity. Tough pieces of meat cooked long and slow in a thick jacuzzi of fat until it is meltingly tender and supremely tasty? Hand it over. Immediately.

Traditionally a method of preservation, the meat would sit quite happily in its fatty suspension for months on end – the surrounding lard preventing bacteria from scuttling in and spoiling the delicious meat within.

Not the most practical thing to do at home, especially in small quantities, confit duck is something I eat only rarely which is why I was intrigued by an alternative method discussed over port and candied fish.

Not only does it require a fraction of the amount of fat but reportedly yields results on a par with the traditional method. Some even go so far as to say superior. Everything that is good about confit in a neat domestic kitchen friendly method. A challenge too tempting to pass over.

Quick Duck Confit

Buy a whole duck. Seriously. Don’t bother faffing about with legs and breasts. Just buy the entire bird and get busy with a sharp knife. It’s much cheaper and you can then render your own fat from the leftover bits and bobs.

[Steamed bum-plings, anyone? Dim Bum?]

Sprinkle the legs with a little salt then put them in a steamer over a pan of water into which you’ve dropped some aromatics – cinnamon, star anise, chillies, peppercorns. Whatever takes your fancy. Bring to the boil and steam gently for 50-60 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Bag the legs and refrigerate them for at least 12 hours. Freeze them if necessary but they should keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

When you’re feeling peckish liberally spread a teaspoon or so of duck fat over the legs , sprinkle with a little salt and roast for 8-10 minutes. If you want crispy skin – and I can only assume you really do – then pop them under the grill for two minutes each side.

The results? Crispy, salty skin. Sweet, juicy tender meat. The merest hint of warmth from the spices. As close to food nirvana as it is possible to get. Whatever your menu plans tonight, change them immediately and do this. You won’t regret it.

More tasty titbits can be found on Twitter


przepisy said...

Nice recipe:) Greetings from Poland!!!

Tadeja said...

Hi :), I love your recipe and I will try it. We eat a duck pretty often. I usually buy 3-5 ducks and keep them in the deep freeze, but first I separate them to a parts and make a portions of legs, breasts and the rest for some soups or gulash and one leave whole for roast duck. I also save the fat and use it instead of other greases in some other meals. I expect that all those spices in boiling water under the duck, must make the duck meat very tastfull. And I'm thinking, if you cover the duck which is cooked on that way, with the duck grease and keep it in the refrigator it could last for a longer period.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Of course you want crispy skin - what kind of daft question is that? I do it the old fashioned way quite often, because my flat Le Creuset dutch oven can take 4 duck legs.

Wayne a.k.a The_Burb said...

That looks awesome! An inspiration for the weekend. Thank you

Jonathan said...

Your presentation here is beautiful! What are the little bejeweled droplets surrounding the duck? Duck fat?

Amy said...

This looks like an awesome recipe. One I might have to try one day! I love duck.

natural selection said...

Alright I'm going to give you the love hate reply here..
I love love duck and can't wait to try this!
I hate the fact I have to now go and search for Joyce Chen AKA Bamboo steamer in the pantry, ultimately it's a worthwhile effort I'm sure!

Thank you for a great post!

Just Cook It said...

Thanks przepisy

Tadeja - You could definitely melt down the fat and cover it up in a confit style. That would work really well. Great idea.

Foodycat - I just never seem to have enough duck fat to cover them up for the trad method which is why I love this one so much

Thanks Wayne, hope it worked out.

Jonathan - glad you asked - they are actually 'lentils' made from clarified pork stock and a gelling agent called carrageenan. I'll be writing about it soon.

Thanks Amy

Natural selction - hunt it out, it's worth it!

matt said...

so what on earth do I now do with the 4 tubs of duck fat I have in the freezer?

:) seriously though what a fantastically interesting method - a great modern approach on perhaps the most classic of all preparations.

You are right, I have to try this.

dana said...

hi alex! first time here, and i have to say, the title is quite misleading, because you don't just cook it, do you?! confit and sourdough don't come near the realm of 'just'... that off my chest, lovely spot you have, the photography is charming and i enjoy your stories. cheers!

Hollow Legs said...

That looks so good it almost makes me want to lick the screen.

thickett by KELLY THICKETT said...

Where's the "'lentils' made from clarified pork stock and a gelling agent called carrageenan".. I have agar-agar here and have been wanting to try some molecular gastronomy. Since I also have tiny black lentils and a duck... I;d really like to experiment. I also have a syringe (scientist by day)- so,how ever did you make the droplets so consistent?
Thanks for the info...