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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Duck Confit with Savory Blueberry Sauce


This famous French dish, confit de canard, or duck confit, sounds fancy but it's really quite simple. Developed as a food preservation technique, confit is a method of slow-cooking and storing meats in fat. It sounds greasy, but it's surprisingly not. The meat stays moist and fall-apart tender while excess fat melts out during cooking.

This recipe does require a large amount of duck fat. I happen to have a jar in my fridge because I save rendered fat whenever I cook duck (it keeps for months in the fridge). But it's also sold by the jar. Look for D'artagnan duck fat in specialty groceries or buy it online.

This recipe also requires several duck legs. When I found them fresh, I bought a bunch to make this dish. If you have a hard time finding duck legs, ask around at your local farmer's market or have your butcher to order some for you. Alternatively, you can use a whole duck, fresh or frozen and thawed, cut into pieces.

Properly prepared, duck confit will keep in the fridge for several months. To store it, you'll need a glass or ceramic container. A covered crock or wide-mouth 2-liter canning jar works well. 

I served the finished product with a savory sauce made of blueberries and fresh rosemary. You'll find that recipe at the end of this post.

6 duck legs
Sea salt
Duck fat, 4 cups or more

At least 24 hours in advance, generously season the duck legs and set them aside in the fridge.

Allow the pre-seasoned duck legs to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 275F. 

Wipe off any excess salt from the duck legs and arrange them inside a cast iron Dutch oven. Cover them with duck fat and warm over low heat until the fat has liquified and you're sure there is enough to cover the legs completely.

Cover the Dutch oven and transfer it to the oven. Roast the duck legs for 2½ hours, then remove the Dutch oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Once the duck legs have cooled, transfer them to a clean, dry glass or ceramic container. 

Very carefully, pour the duck fat over the legs. The duck legs must be completely covered with duck fat, so if there isn't enough, add more.

Cool the jar completely to room temperature. Cover it tightly and place it in the fridge until ready to eat.

When you're ready to eat the duck confit, bring the jar to room temperature. If you plan to serve it with the blueberry sauce, take the blueberries out of the freezer to thaw.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Carefully remove the duck legs one by one, wiping away most of the excess fat (you'll want to leave a little to prevent the meat from sticking to the baking dish) and placing it inside a baking pan. If you have a hard time pulling out the duck legs, place the jar on the oven as it preheats so further soften the fat and ease removal. Cover the remaining confit and put it back in the fridge.

Roast the duck legs, uncovered, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix up the Savory Blueberry Sauce (recipe follows).

Savory Blueberry Sauce

To make this sauce, I used my immersion blender and a wide-mouth pint-size canning jar. You can also use a regular blender or a food processor. If you need more volume to make your machine mix, you can double this recipe.

1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt to taste
Ground peppercorn to taste

Purée all of the ingredients until smooth. Taste for seasoning and make and necessary adjustments. Serve the sauce within two hours or store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat.

1 comment:

Maya Camou said...

That looks so good, just wish we can find the duck fat here not only in France. I would so love to make this. And the blue berry sauce addition is a great idea - yummmm