Confit Duck with Roasted Root Veggies

Photo by Jun Pang

Confit meat has been the oldest way of preserving proteins for centuries.  Before refrigeration, people had to store meat some how.  Some salted their meats which draws out moisture inhibiting the growth of bacteria, there fore allowing it to be kept for longer periods of times.  Some smoked meats, cure meats often with sugar and salt mix.

Confiting meat allows it to be stored for several months.  The French were some of the first people to perfect this method.  Usually it uses the rendered fat of the meat, for example, if you are confiting duck, you would render duck fat and use the liquid fat to confit the duck.  This also enriches the flavour and adds the moisture back into the meat.

Once confited, you can make things like duck rillettes.  Duck rillettes are like pate’s.  We simply warm up a little of the duck fat (around 120 degrees Celsius) we confited the ducks in, strip the duck meat into smaller, super thin strips and work the that fat into the meat slowly by pressing it into the meat using the back of a wooden spoon until it forms a pate like consistency, only a little more grainier.  To finish, you add the usual condiments of chopped parsley, cornichuns, capers and chopped shallots.  If you still want to store from here, spoon a layer of that fat on top, allow that fat to harden and you have natural seal on top.

Confiting is an art.  Try it out and the trick here is patience and attention to technique.  Don’t allow the temperature to get up too high.  Touch, feel and watch the meat at all times.  From here, once you have  mastered duck, try other proteins like offal, beef and even fish.  The temperatures will vary because some proteins react differently to temperature.  if you don’t have duck fat (which can be expensive) try it with olive oil, in fact when you are confiting fish, olive oil is often the best to use.

Photo by Jun Pang

Confit of Duck Maryland with Roasted Winter Vegetables, Dukkah and Seeded Mustard and Honey Dressing

Serves 4

For the Duck

4 Duck Maryland

¼ cup Salt

½ cup Brown Sugar

1 tspn Ground Cinnamon

1 tspn Ground Star Anise

4 Strands of Dried Mandarin Peel

2 ltr of Vegetable Oil

1 Clove of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

1 tspn Black Pepper Corns

8 large Shallots

For the Vegetables

1 bunch Baby Beetroots

1 Butternut Pumpkin

¼ cup Dukkah

200gr Danish Feta

For the dressing

1 tspn Seeded Mustard

1 tspn Honey

1 Cup Olive Oil

¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Sea Salt

Ground Black Pepper

Method

For the Duck

  1. First we must cure the duck legs.  Make a simple spice mix with the sugar, salt, cinnamon, star anise and dried mandarin peel.
  2. Rub the duck legs with the spice mix, making sure the legs are well covered with the cure.
  3. Place on wire rack with a tray underneath to catch the liquid that will drain off the meat.  Leave in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 24 hours.
  4. Next day, wash off the salt and pat dry with paper towel.  Turn oven on to 120degrees Celsius
  5. Place an oven proof pot on low heat and add vegetable oil, garlic, bay leaf and black pepper corns.  Heat the oil ONLY up to up 110 degrees Celsius using a thermometer.  Too hot it will start to fry the duck.  Add the duck and the whole shallots
  6. Place the whole pot in the oven for at least 1 hour or until the meat starts to fall off the bone (it may take 2 hours, depending on the size etc), then allow to cool in the oil.

For the dressing

  1. Whisk together the mustard, honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil in bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

For the Vegetables

  1. Turn the oven on to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Take the leaves off the beetroots.  Cut the butternut pumpkin half length ways then cut them into 2cm thick wedges.
  3. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper, coating well.
  4. Place all vegetable s on a roasting tray and roast together for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Drain the duck legs and shallots from the oil really well and add it to the roasting along with the veggies and heat up for about 12-15 minutes or until the veggies are soft and cooked and the duck legs are slightly crispy on the outside.
  6. Arrange the vegetables on a plate and sprinkle feta on top, followed by the dukkah, then the duck legs and dress all of it with the mustard dressing

Photo by Jun Pang

Cornichuns – tiny pickled cucumbers/gherkins usually pickled in brine which is a little sharp and tart.  In French it translates to “little horns”

Dukkah – originates from Egypt, which is a mixture of nuts, dried spices and herbs.  Usually used in restaurants in partnership to olive oil and bread or in salads or on vegetables.  Many chefs come up with their own version, so there many type of dukkah (or duqqa as sometimes spelt)

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About dnleslie

Chef and food lover. Passionate about cooking, learning from people and teaching. View all posts by dnleslie

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