New Year, New Cure

Happy New Year!  After a lovely New Year’s Eve with friends, it’s time to squeeze a bit more out of the free time before heading back to work.  Today I’ve started duck confit, to be used later in January at our dinner group’s cassoulet party on the 15th.  This year, instead of using the perfectly lovely D’Artagnan Cassoulet Kit which the group has used in the past, we’ve decided to do a locavore version.

I’m using the Duck Confit with Clove recipe from Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn.  I think this recipe will complement the pancetta and sausages I’ve made already that will make out our “kit”, which will be equivalent to two of the D’Artagnan kits, due to the size of the group for this dinner.

12 Duck legs, from Au Bon Canard, via People's Food Co-op

As is often the case, the hardest part was procuring the duck, but I luckily found 12 lovely duck legs at People’s Food Co-op in La Crosse, WI, and I snatched them up.  This saved me a trip to Caledonia, MN to get them at the Au Bon Canard farm.  I’d have preferred to get them at the farm, but with storms in the forecast and a packed holiday schedule, I took the easy way out.  Aren’t these lovely duck legs?

The first step in the process is pretty simple- give the duck legs a salt and herb/spice cure.  Here are the ingredients for the cure:

Kosher Salt (Morton's), in this case 6 tablespoons

Large garlic cloves

Bay leaves

Whole Cloves and Peppercorns

So, the basic mise-en-place prep for this is to slice the garlic cloves, roughly bash the cloves and peppercorns, and count out enough bay leaves so that each leg gets at least half of one.  As you see here (Click on the photo below if you’d like to see a larger version):

Prepped and ready for the duck

And now, we prep the duck, which is in non-reactive containers:

Duck legs, salted on both sides

More salty duck legs

Then, I sprinkled the pepper and clove mixture over the duck, added the sliced garlic to the meat side, and topped the legs off with the bay leaf.  Here’s what it looked like (click on picture below for larger view):

Cure prep complete, ready for the fridge

After this, I covered the pans with plastic wrap, and put the duck in the fridge for at least 7 or 8 hours, at which time the cooking part will start.  Stay tuned!

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2 Responses to New Year, New Cure

  1. This looks like it will be really tasty. I didn’t realize duck was such a red meat — is this a special variety?

  2. Jennifer says:

    Well, this meat is from the hybrid breed that Au Bon Canard raises for foie gras. I believe it is the Mulard, which is a cross between a (male) Muscovy duck and a (female) Pekin duck. Yes, duck (not just this hybrid, but duck in general) is a red meat. Even the breast meat is red. (See Duck Proscuitto here on the blog for before and after curing shots of it.

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