I've been enjoying some good success with Ducks, and yesterday was another hit. This time, it's Duck Leg Confit. Click here to read What is Confit?
About two months ago, I prepared 20 duck legs (crazy, right?!) confit-style. The entire process involved the following:
1. Rub Maldon sea salt all over the duck legs, store in fridge for 24-36 hours
2. Remove marinade and wash duck legs under running water
3. Place damp legs into duck fat in a pot along with a marinade (eg., garlic and coriander or thyme)
4. Bring it to a simmer, then cover and transfer to a preheated oven for 2 - 2.5 hours at 140C. At this point, you can choose to cook it immediately by pan-searing to get crispy skin or you can let it cool and store them, soaked in duck fat, and keep them in the fridge. The longer you keep them, the more flavorful they become. Minimum 2 weeks for the flavour to infuse, maximum 6 months.
5. When ready to serve, bring them back to room temperature, then pan sear for 5 minutes on the skin, and 1 minute on the other side.
Yes, I did the full monty.
I served one batch after soaking for one week. The flavour was good. But last night, I served another batch that has been soaking for 8 weeks and the flavour was super awesome - deep, complex flavour like nothing I've ever cooked in my life. Dare I say - I don't even get this taste in decent French restaurants. The bones broke away from one another easily, and the meat fell off the bones. That was what impressed my diners before they even tasted it.
This was taken by one of my diner friends with his iPhone. Thank God he took it 'cos it's the only picture I have from the first batch!
I grabbed my camera to take this second batch but didn't have time to fool around, so just this one shot. The taste got me so excited and distracted and took priority over photography, and rightfully so.
All that tedious, laborious, impractical French fussiness was actually worth every minute of my time and attention. Centuries of French cuisine was starting to make an impression on a personal level. Food has the power to inspire. For the first time, I went to bed full of admiration for the French.
I am happy as a duck in water and am so going to do this again.