February 04, 2009

Confit de Canard. Duck Confit. Part 2- like meat loves salt.

Confire- French verb to preserve, conserve.
je confis tu confis il confit

'Nous confisons un canard avec quatre tetes.'
We are preserving a duck with four heads.

eh voila! for information about why 4 heads... see previous post.

It took me longer to download and then upload these pictures then it did to make the confit. Way too long! So when my students complain (or comment) that real cooking takes so long, I protest. The virtual world might make some things easier but not necessarily faster. Making Confit de Canard ( or Porc, d'Oie or even Poule- that's pig, goose and old hen) is all about slow cooking, but it needn't be a three day affair. A quiet morning catching up with emails will do while the meat simmers away in a deep pan of golden fat.

The first step after butchering the whole duck into pieces is to lightly salt the meat and let it sit overnight. 'Overnight' here means no more than 12 hours. Salt before you go to bed and be ready to cook in the morning, or salt at the crack of dawn and cook that evening.
Salting for 24 hours (or longer!) is overkill. Keep in mind the size of your ducks (mine will weigh in at 6-7 kilos, that's 13-15 pounds each!), the length of time you will be cooking and the preserving the meat (After cooking for 1 to 1-1/4 hours, I typically jar and sterilize my cooked confit in winter and leave it in the pantry until summer and fall using up most of it before the next batch is seasonal made) and to what end ( I will serve confit legs and magrets or breasts solo with salad and fried potatoes in the summer, add to autumn cassoulets, and make soups and garbures from the little peices of necks and wings.). More salt and longer salting time was necessary when confit was put up in earthenware jars and stored unrefrigerated in 'caves' or cellars. If you are not using traditional large fatted ducks (take a look at the size of the legs in my size 8 garden glove hand!), then scale down salt and cooking time.

These are the photographs on Flickr of the steps taken to get from fresh raw duck...

to succulent duck confit.

I'll get the descriptions on Flickr written up as soon as I get a minute between real life chores. This week, you'll notice that I put the confit in 2 jars, the necks into a crock, the extra fat in jam jars and then into the refrigerator rather than sealing and sterilizing them like I do usually. I'll be testing them in 2 weeks time for tenderness; we'll talk about aging the confit soon. In the meantime, enjoy the process!

No comments: