In case you missed it, day 1 is here. I made duck confit so that we can use it for a large cassoulet party later in January. After yesterday’s seasoning (curing) of the duck legs, today’s major effort involved the real “confit” part. None of this work is difficult, but it does require time. The steps pictured in this entry took place over the course of about 7 or 8 hours today.
The first step was to take the cured legs from the refrigerator, rinse off the salt, garlic, and spices, and pat them dry. You can see that the meat is a bit darker in color, where it has had contact with the salt.
Next, I took out my trusty Dutch Ovens. The red one is a 6-quart, and the oval blue one is a 4.5-quart, I believe. My next step was to layer the duck legs in the Dutch Ovens.
And now, the part that makes this confit…. The FAT.
Confit requires a large quantity of fat – enough to completely cover the duck legs in the Dutch Ovens. I melted a large quantity (pounds) of duck fat and some lard that I had rendered and frozen earlier this year. This picture represents only a portion of the fat that was melted, then poured over the duck legs:
I preheated the oven to 180 degrees F, then put the Dutch Ovens over medium heat, to bring the pots up to a simmer.
Once both pots reached a simmer, it was into the oven:
At this point, I closed the oven and ignored it for about 6.5 hours.
When I woke up from my nap and pulled the pots out, they looked like this:
You can see that the legs have shrunk in the cooking process, and the meat is all still underneath the fat. At this point, I let the Dutch Ovens cool, and put them into the refrigerator, where they will stay, safely preserved under the fat, until it’s time to make the cassoulet. We’ll just break the cold fat and get out the meat, crisp up the skin, and go on with the cassoulet recipe. Should I mention that the kitchen smells just ducky? I’m looking forward to tasting this stuff.