In the Jordan kitchen, there is always a batch of this confit recipe in some stage of preparation. Whether it is showcased in risotto, terrines, cassoulet, rillettes or simply warmed through and crisped on the bone in a cast iron pan, duck confit makes for a versatile ingredient or main course.
1 Tbsp Sarawak black peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander
1 star anise
6 duck legs with thighs
3 Tbsp sea salt
1½ Tbsp Demerara sugar
2 bay leaves
5 marjoram sprigs
10 thyme sprigs
3 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cups duck fat
In a large non-reactive bowl, combine toasted spices, sea salt, sugar, herbs, shallots and garlic. Press duck legs into mixture to coat each leg evenly. Tightly cover bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 200°. In a small saucepan, melt the duck fat. Remove duck legs from the refrigerator and carefully brush marinade from the legs. Arrange the legs in a single, tight layer in an earthenware casserole or heavy lidded 6-quart stock pot. Pour the melted duck fat over the duck legs to cover and place in the oven.
Allow to cook gently until meat is easily pierced and nearly falls away from the bone, approximately 4 to 5 hours. Remove duck from oven, cool and store the duck in the fat. The confit can be stored for a minimum of one week and up to one month, but should be salted a day before you plan to cook it.
Fat is Flavor!
Long ago, before refrigeration, meat was made into a confit, which meant it was rubbed with salt, herbs and spices then cooked and stored in fat, to preserve it for the winter ahead when there would be little fresh meat available. These vats of fatted meat would be stored in the cool cellar for months with no adverse effect – the salt cured the meat and inhibited bacterial growth and the fat sealed out air. Pork and duck rillettes, duck leg confit and whole goose livers in fat gave the farmers and village people the extra energy necessary to keep warm and go about their winter labor. Any meat, game or poultry made into a confit is flavorful and succulent.
I like to make confit when the weather turns cold. Not that I don’t sometimes make it in the summer, I just think it makes more sense to have the oven on for a few hours when it can do double duty and also heat the house. Bulky cold weather sweaters also help to hide the end result of gorging on duck confit and one of my favorite by products of confit – Rillettes!!
Rillettes make a great partner to fragrant, fruity and high acid white or red wines. I particularly enjoy rillettes slathered on homemade sesame crackers washed down with RSV’s Los Carneros Pinot Noir. Sesame pulls the rillettes and crackers together to make a taste sensation and the crunch of the crackers offset the rich fattiness of the rillettes.
There are plenty of commercially available rillettes if you don’t have time for homemade. I do recommend making your own crackers if you go this route. The crackers are simple to make and won’t take up a lot of your time.
Until the Next Wine….
Maria- Robert Sinskey Wines