Again, I am amazed at the bounty that surrounds me, and how easy it has been for me to find high quality ingredients, now that I have some freezer space available. A friend and I have decided to get together to make duck confit this fall. We looked at the basic recipe from Ruhlman & Polcyn, and we looked over ingredients. Duck legs and duck fat are the key things we didn’t have in the pantry. Thus started a series of emails and phone calls which fortuitously led me to obtain some great duck products from here in southeast Minnesota.
While I was discussing paying my bill for the Red Wattle pig with Ann Kreidermacher, I found out that she was raising ducks for the first time. Since my husband loves duck meat, and with this plan for confit, I immediately asked if Ann would sell me some, and at what cost. A deal was struck, the pick up date was scheduled, and I got five Pekin ducks for about $4 per pound ($76). Here’s what two of them look like, frozen.
I now have enough duck legs for our confit project, and more duck breasts for curing, with an extra duck left to roast whole. My friend H and I went to the farm in Altura, MN to pick up the processed ducks. We got to meet the Kreidermachers in person, and talk about their farm, and how the ducks and pigs are raised. They are mostly in pasture, and are given organic feed. The Kreidermachers will likely raise more ducks, though they may switch to Muscovy ducks from Pekins. We’ll see. I’m hoping to stay on their phone list for future years.
Here is the fat from nine ducks, frozen and shrink wrapped. This should give us plenty for the confit process (which involves slow cooking the meat in the fat). I bought this from Monsieur Gasset (of Au Bon Canard Fois Gras, Inc.) in Caledonia, MN, who has an extremely clean, well kept farm. He was out of duck legs and breasts, since it is the end of his season, but I did also purchase this, which is his most important product.
While I will not likely buy many of these, I feel lucky to have seen the operation where it is produced, and to see that it is run with such care and cleanliness. M. Gasset was happy to talk about his operation, and to show me around, and answer any questions I had. He showed me the entire processing facility that is there on site, and discussed what they do. I saw mature ducks, about 4 weeks before harvest, and younger ducks, that were only about 3 weeks old.
I’m excited to cook with such high quality products, and I am again amazed that I have been able to obtain them without a huge effort. I am lucky to be able to meet the producers in person, and to have time to travel to their farms, which are within 60 miles of where I live.