Confit - The Kaleberg Variation
The major points of difference between Dany's confit recipe and ours
- We usually make either two or four ducks at a time. We skin each
duck and use the parts as follows:
| the skin
|| we cut it into thin 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips
and render them in a slow oven (250F-300F) to get the fat we need for
preserving the ducks; use a real sharp knife and sharpen it at least
once per duck
| the breast meat and legs
|| these are the parts we confit; we leave some of the skin
on the legs and breasts
| the liver
|| we cook these up with confit
spice and corn kernels, a dish of our own based loosely on one of
| the heart and gizards
|| we confit these with the meat, but you might want to
process them separately as a confit de gezier, a great confit in its
| the wings, the neck and the rest of the
|| we use these for stock; just boil them up in a big pot
full of water for an hour or two; you can make a great
gumbo ya-ya, like the one at the Ivy in LA using this stock
- We use a more complex mix of herbs and
spices. We make up a big batch and store it in a spice or mustard jar.
We use about 1 tbsp of spice mix per duck. The mix is as follows:
| 1 tsp ground cumin
|| 1 tsp ground coriander seeds (not the fresh
parsley like herb)
| 1 tsp ground cinnamon
|| 3/4 tsp ground allspice (or even a bit more)
| 1/4 tsp ground clove
|| 1/2 tsp cardomon
| 1/2 tsp ground ginger
|| 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
| 1 Turkish bay leaf, crumpled or ground
|| 3/4 tsp dried thyme leaf (or powdered thyme)
- We also use a whole head of garlic for every two ducks, but you
can use more or less, but you MUST use some garlic.
- We weigh the breasts and legs and use 1/3 ounce of salt (you can
use regular table salt, but do use NaCl) per pound of meat. You use can
less this if you only plan on keeping the confit a few weeks, but we
use the whole dose. No, it is not too salty.
- We rub the duck meat and garlic with the salt, herbs and spices
and let it sit for from 24 to 36 hours. You do have some margin here.
The purpose of the salt is to draw water out of the meat. The garlic,
herbs and spices flavor it.
- We cook the confit in the oven at 250F-300F in the oven, rather
than on the stove top. Make sure you cover the meat with enough fat to
cover it. It is important to rub off the marination mixture (or wash it
off and then dry the duck) before cooking it.
- We store our confit in one of those big jars (two quart or so)
with a rubber seal and wire hinge. Basically, you can use any airtight
container that can handle the heat of the duck and fat you pour in. As
noted in Dany's recipe, the trick is to cover all of the duck meat is
not exposed to air. If you are a real purist, you can top off the duck
fat (once it has hardened) with a layer of eau d'vie.
- We usually start our confit several weeks before making our
cassoulet. Dany's recipe is for a quick confit and while delicious, is
not as good as one aged a bit more.