If you have never dabbled with confit you really should give it a try, especially with your wildfowl. Confit (pronounced: con-fee) is the process of slow-cooking a piece of meat in fat, traditionally and more specifically, its own fat. Confit was originally developed to preserve meat before refrigeration. Leaving the meat submerged in fat after cooking prevents oxygen from reaching the meat, which keeps bacteria from spoiling the meat and extends its shelf life to months even without refrigeration. By cooking slowly you can ensure tougher pieces such as legs and wings become fall-apart tender and the fat prevents the meat from becoming dry. Confit is a delicious, way to enjoy typically discarded cuts and opens up a lot of easy meal possibilities for the home cook. Find out by preparing this favorite.
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Duck Confit
Prep/Cook time: 1.5 hours
Duck, preferably skin-on breast
- Duck fat (can sub lard or mild oil)
- Roasted garlic (below)
- Fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- Shallot, diced
- White wine
*If you do not render the fat from your ducks, you should. It is liquid gold.
Salt your duck and leave uncovered in the fridge for at least one hour before cooking. With a paper towel, pat any moisture from the meat. Season with fresh-cracked pepper. Using an oven safe saucepan, submerge your duck and a couple sprigs of rosemary in duck fat. In place of duck fat you can use lard or a mild-flavored oil in a pinch.
Place in the oven at 175F (or as low as your oven will go) until the internal temp hits 130F. After removing from the oven, the duck will continue to cook from the residual heat of the oil to about 135F (medium, don’t overcook duck, ever). Remove duck from oil and pat dry with paper towels; place in the fridge for 15 minutes or until ready to serve. This can also be done a day or two in advance and seared just prior to serving.
To serve: Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to high, place your cooled duck skin-side down and press for 20 seconds then flip. We aren’t trying to cook the duck here, just sear the outside since it has already cooked to medium. Flip again after another 20 seconds and sear until the skin is crispy. Plate with your cream sauce. Pairs well with garlic sprouts (can sub asparagus) and couscous (can sub rice).
Homemade Roasted Garlic
Cut the top ¼ off the head of garlic, drizzle with oil, loosely wrap in foil and put in oven at 400F for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300F until garlic is soft and spreadable (should be 45 minutes total).
Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Cream
Heat a sauce pan or small skillet to medium, add a couple teaspoons of oil, shallots and some of your roasted garlic (3-4 cloves worth), and let that become golden. Add in ¾ cup of cream and a couple glugs of wine and reduce heat to medium-low. As the sauce begins to thicken, add in the juice from half a lemon and your rosemary. Continue to reduce. Once the sauce can coat the back of a spoon, it is ready. Add lemon or wine to thin if needed. Pour through a mesh strainer (optional).