It’s that time of year. We have finally parted company with the warm October sun, and awoken to high winds and heavy rains. It had to happen, we just hope it won’t.
As ever our minds turn to comfort food, and stocking the larder for the colder months to come.
I have spent a quiet weekend doing just that, and confit de canard was the first thing to be prepared.
It takes about two days from start to finish, and on day one I salted my duck portions with sea salt and stored them in the fridge for 24 hours.
This morning I rinsed off the salt and let the portions soak in water for about half an hour to get rid of any lingering salt on them.
I placed the pieces of duck into a deep roasting tin and poured over some melted duck fat ( I used some goose fat as well) I then added some cloves of crushed garlic, whole white peppercorns a few fresh bay leaves and coriander seeds. The fat was half way up the side of the duck pieces. If you add any more, as the fat on the duck itself renders down, you will end up with it brimming to the top and the inevitable spillages in the oven.
The duck was cooked in a moderate oven and turned from time to time for approximately three hours. The test is to see if the meat starts to fall off the bone – if it doesn’t, then give it a little longer – remember that the meat is not roasting, more stewing in its own juices.
Finally, take out the pieces of duck and place in a storage bowl. Strain the fat through a fine sieve to get rid of the debris, then finally pour over the meat until it is fully covered – don’t worry if the odd bit is above the level of the fat, just make sure it has had a coating of fat on it before going into the fridge.
Let the meat mature for 3-4 weeks before serving – it is certainly worth the wait.
To serve, melt the fat slowly around the confit so that each piece can be taken out and put on a roasting tray. To serve heat through in an oven allowing the skin to brown gently to give a crispy finish. The fat can be used for roast vegetables.