CONFIT ET MAGRET

THE MOST DAUNTING CHALLENGE OF MAKING CONFIT, IN THIS CASE DUCK CONFIT, IS NOT IN THE PREPARATION.  NOTHING COULD BE SIMPLER:  SEASON THE LEGS OVERNIGHT, COOK IN A LOW OVEN FOR SEVERAL HOURS AND, JUST BEFORE SERVING, CRISP UP THE LEGS UNDER THE BROILER. 

BUT FIRST YOU NEED DUCK FAT, ABOUT 2 1/2 QUARTS OF DUCK FAT.  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT ONCE YOU HAVE IT, YOU'LL HAVE IT FOREVER.  I'VE BEEN USING THE SAME FAT FOR THREE YEARS.  IT'S THE PERFECT FAT FOR ROASTING POTATOES OR ANY ROOT VEGETABLE.  YOU CAN USE IT TO BROWN A PORK ROAST OR A CHICKEN BEFORE POPPING IT IN THE OVEN.  YOU'LL NEVER RUN SHORT BECAUSE EACH TIME YOU MAKE A DUCK CONFIT, THE FAT FROM THE LEGS MELTS AWAY INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF FAT. 

AS RICH AS IT IS, ONE DUCK LEG IS A MEAGER SERVING, SO I AUGMENT IT WITH A FEW RARE SLICES OF DUCK BREAST (MAGRET).  I SAUTÉ APPLES IN THE MELTED FAT.  THE APPLES CUT THROUGH THE RICHNESS OF THE CONFIT AND THE MAGRET.  AND IT ALL LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL ON THE PLATE, N'EST-CE PAS?  

 6 DUCK LEGS
 2 DUCK BREASTS
 4 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME
 8 GARLIC CLOVES
 2 BAY LEAVES
 2 qts DUCK FAT
 CHINESE FIVE-SPICE POWDER.
 4 TART APPLES SUCH AS FUJI
 1 LEMON

1

SEASON DUCK LEGS WITH SALT AND GROUND PEPPER, PEELED GARLIC CLOVES, THYME SPRIGS AND BAY LEAVES. PACK IN A LARGE CASSEROLE AND PLACE OVERNIGHT IN THE FRIDGE.
THE NEXT MORNING, REMOVE THE LEGS, AND WIPE OFF THE MARINADE.
MELT THE DUCK FAT IN THE CASSEROLE. ARRANGE THE LEGS IN THE FAT, MAKING SURE THEY ARE COMPLETELY COVERED IN FAT. PUT A LID ON THE POT.
PLACE IN 180º OVEN AND COOK FOR 5 TO 6 HOURS OR UNTIL THE LEGS ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SERVING FORK OR SMALL KNIFE. TURN OFF THE HEAT AND LET THE LEGS COOL IN THE FAT.
MEANWHILE, LIGHTLY SCORE THE FAT SIDE OF THE BREASTS DIAGONALLY. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND RUB EACH BREAST LIGHTLY WITH FIVE-SPICE POWDER. LET THE BREASTS SIT, FAT SIDE UP FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE COOKING.
PEEL AND CORE THE APPLES. SLICE EACH INTO 8 SECTIONS. TOSS WITH LEMON JUICE AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL READY TO USE.
PRE-HEAT THE BROILER.
ARRANGE THE LEGS FAT SIDE UP ON A RIMMED BAKING SHEET. PUT THEM IN THE OVEN AND BROIL TILL THEY ARE NICELY BROWNED ON TOP, 5 TO 10 MINUTES DEPENDING ON YOUR BROILER.
BLOT THE BREASTS WITH A PAPER TOWEL. PLACE FAT SIDE DOWN IN A CAST IRON PAN. PLACE OVER A LOW FLAME.
COOK BREASTS ABOUT 6 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE FAT SIDE IS BROWN AND MOST OF THE FAT MELTED AWAY. TURN THEM OVER AND RAISE HEAT TO MEDIUM. WHEN THE FIRST DROPS OF BLOOD APPEAR ON THE SURFACE OF THE MEAT, IT'S RARE. COOK TO YOUR LIKING AS YOU WOULD A STEAK, BUT ANYTHING BEYOND MEDIUM RARE, THE FLESH IS GOING TO BE TOUGH.
REMOVE THE BREASTS TO A WARM PLATE.
RAISE HEAT AND ADD THE APPLES TO THE PAN. COOK FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE APPLES ARE BROWNED. IT'S HARD TO OVERCOOK THEM SINCE EVEN THE CHARRED ONES TASTE GREAT.
SLICE THE BREASTS AGAINST THE GRAIN.
ARRANGE LEGS AND A FEW SLICES OF MAGRET ON EACH PLATE. GARNISH WITH APPLES.
SERVES 6

Ingredients

 6 DUCK LEGS
 2 DUCK BREASTS
 4 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME
 8 GARLIC CLOVES
 2 BAY LEAVES
 2 qts DUCK FAT
 CHINESE FIVE-SPICE POWDER.
 4 TART APPLES SUCH AS FUJI
 1 LEMON

Directions

1

SEASON DUCK LEGS WITH SALT AND GROUND PEPPER, PEELED GARLIC CLOVES, THYME SPRIGS AND BAY LEAVES. PACK IN A LARGE CASSEROLE AND PLACE OVERNIGHT IN THE FRIDGE.
THE NEXT MORNING, REMOVE THE LEGS, AND WIPE OFF THE MARINADE.
MELT THE DUCK FAT IN THE CASSEROLE. ARRANGE THE LEGS IN THE FAT, MAKING SURE THEY ARE COMPLETELY COVERED IN FAT. PUT A LID ON THE POT.
PLACE IN 180º OVEN AND COOK FOR 5 TO 6 HOURS OR UNTIL THE LEGS ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SERVING FORK OR SMALL KNIFE. TURN OFF THE HEAT AND LET THE LEGS COOL IN THE FAT.
MEANWHILE, LIGHTLY SCORE THE FAT SIDE OF THE BREASTS DIAGONALLY. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND RUB EACH BREAST LIGHTLY WITH FIVE-SPICE POWDER. LET THE BREASTS SIT, FAT SIDE UP FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE COOKING.
PEEL AND CORE THE APPLES. SLICE EACH INTO 8 SECTIONS. TOSS WITH LEMON JUICE AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL READY TO USE.
PRE-HEAT THE BROILER.
ARRANGE THE LEGS FAT SIDE UP ON A RIMMED BAKING SHEET. PUT THEM IN THE OVEN AND BROIL TILL THEY ARE NICELY BROWNED ON TOP, 5 TO 10 MINUTES DEPENDING ON YOUR BROILER.
BLOT THE BREASTS WITH A PAPER TOWEL. PLACE FAT SIDE DOWN IN A CAST IRON PAN. PLACE OVER A LOW FLAME.
COOK BREASTS ABOUT 6 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE FAT SIDE IS BROWN AND MOST OF THE FAT MELTED AWAY. TURN THEM OVER AND RAISE HEAT TO MEDIUM. WHEN THE FIRST DROPS OF BLOOD APPEAR ON THE SURFACE OF THE MEAT, IT'S RARE. COOK TO YOUR LIKING AS YOU WOULD A STEAK, BUT ANYTHING BEYOND MEDIUM RARE, THE FLESH IS GOING TO BE TOUGH.
REMOVE THE BREASTS TO A WARM PLATE.
RAISE HEAT AND ADD THE APPLES TO THE PAN. COOK FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE APPLES ARE BROWNED. IT'S HARD TO OVERCOOK THEM SINCE EVEN THE CHARRED ONES TASTE GREAT.
SLICE THE BREASTS AGAINST THE GRAIN.
ARRANGE LEGS AND A FEW SLICES OF MAGRET ON EACH PLATE. GARNISH WITH APPLES.
SERVES 6

CONFIT ET MAGRET
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2 thoughts on “CONFIT ET MAGRET

  1. Why not double or triple the confit and save the extra legs for another meal? No additional time or labor is required, and the original purpose of a confit was to preserve the duck for easy future use.

    • The only problem you’ll have doubling or tripling the recipe is you’ll need more duck fat. You can certainly manage 8 or maybe 10 legs, but more than that, you’ll have problems. One solution (they do this a Salt’s Cure) is to augment the duck fat with olive oil. Since it’s a relatively easy dish to make, I don’t think it’s worth your while to make many more and store them. Just make what you need for that particular meal, save the fat and wait for the next time.

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