Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Duck Confit
Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert
Once esteemed as a preservation method, cooking and keeping duck in its rendered fat results in meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat which can be used in a variety of simple preparations. Sear the duck legs in a hot skillet or shred the meat and add it to salads, or, perhaps best of all, make duck rillettes. Duck confit is a centuries-old French dish that consists of a two-method preservation process: To get technical about it, the first part involves salt-curing the meat, which removes any moisture from the meat that could contain microorganisms. Next, you cook and store the meat in its own fat so no air can get trapped.
3 tablespoons salt
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
6 sprigs thyme
Coarsely ground black pepper
4 duck legs with thighs
4 duck wings, trimmed
About 4 cups duck fat
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the duck pieces in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots, and thyme in the container. Arrange the duck, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots, and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck. Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan.
Pour the melted fat over the duck (the duck pieces should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer — just an occasional bubble — until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
Note: The duck fat can be strained, cooled and reused.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog