To confire is a French verb meaning to 'prepare', but in more recent times we know only of the products of this process: Duck and Goose Confit, Confit Fruits and Vegetables. To confit tough meat products doesn't require much skill, just a bit of know how, and we're going to take a look at the tastiest and most popular - Duck Confit....
There are two keys to making a good meat confit - fat and salt. This may not - or it may - sound like something you want to tuck into coming straight off a January Detox; however I can tell you that the end product, a glorious crisped-up duck leg, is relatively fat-free.
The first stage is a good cure - this basically allows seasoning to penetrate the meat, allowing for better preservation, flavour and texture. The second stage is to cover the duck legs in (traditionally its own) fat and place in a low oven for anywhere between 6-8 hours. An endeavour well worth the wait.
You will need:
1. Place the duck legs skin side down in a try and sprinkle first with the chopped garlic. Next take the stalks from the bunch of parsley and chop them up into 1cm pieces, reserving the leaves. Sprinkle the stalks over the duck legs.
2. Combine the salt, sugar and spices in a bowl to make the cure for the duck. Finally, liberally sprinkle the duck cure over the flesh side of the luck legs ensuring an even coat. Leave in the fridge for 48hours.
2. After two days, some liquid should have seeped out of the duck legs and they should feel slightly firmer to the touch. Remove the legs from the cure and rinse under cold running water to remove any excess cure. Discard the used cure.
3. Place the legs in an ovenproof dish and set your oven to 90 degrees (we put ours to just under the 100degrees mark at home). Pour the fat over the duck legs, submerging them fully in the fat. Cover with tin foil and cook for 6 hours, the legs should be very tender and fall apart when skewered.
4. Remove the tray from the oven and let the legs cool in the fat. They can be kept submerged in the fridge for up to 3 months.
5. To reheat the duck legs, remove from the cooled fat, trying to pick off any large lumps of fat sticking to the legs and place into a preheated oven at 200degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until crispy and warmed through.
There are many different ways to enjoy confit duck, apart from the traditional cassoulet - we recently featured this recipe in the February Issue of Good Things Magazine. Maltose Confit duck wraps are perfect sharing food for Valentines night coming up. Speaking of Valentine's Day, if you haven't already, get your tickets to our Valentine's Dinner to see what else we've got for you! A.