Preserved Duck (Confit de Canard)

Ingredients

  • 1duck, 4 to 5 pounds, cut into serving pieces
  • 2tablespoons salt
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3whole cloves garlic
  • 3whole cloves
  • 3bay leaves
  • 2teaspoons thyme
  • 4cups rendered duck fat (see instructions) or goose fat (see note)
  • Nutritional Information
      • Nutritional analysis per serving (28 servings)

        394 calories; 39 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 19 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 0 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 8 grams protein; 66 milligrams cholesterol; 544 milligrams sodium

    Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

1 preserved duck

Preparation

Cut the duck into serving pieces:

  1. two legs with thighs attached, two breast halves, two wings and neck.
  1. Trim away any peripheral fat from the duck and from the inside of the cavity, reserving it for rendering. In a large, shallow bowl layer the duck pieces, sprinkling them with the salt and pepper. Add the garlic, cloves, bay leaves and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours, turning the pieces occasionally.
  2. Rinse the pieces to remove the salt, drain and wipe dry with a paper towel. In a very large pot heat the goose fat or duck fat just enough to melt it and add the duck pieces, garlic and herbs. (Preferably, the pan should be large enough to hold the pieces in one layer. Use a copper pot if you have one; it will allow the duck to cook slowly and evenly.)
  3. Bring the fat almost to the boil, then quickly lower the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer slowly and evenly, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Do not allow the fat to boil or the meat will be fried, not gently cooked. After 1 1/2 hours pierce the duck meat with a metal skewer. If the juice flows clear, the duck is cooked. If it flows red continue cooking until the juice flows clear. The meat should be soft and not offer the least bit of resistance.
  4. Remove the duck pieces and arrange them in a large, round earthenware terrine, a large, wide-mouth canning jar or several jars. (If you will be using the confit right away or the next day, just cover and refrigerate). To store the confit for more than a day strain the fat through a very fine sieve over the duck pieces. There should be enough fat to fully cover them. If not, add additional goose fat or duck fat to cover. Cover the terrine with a lid or plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate (or store in a very cool cellar) for several weeks before using. The confit should keep for several months as long as it is well-covered with fat.
  6. When ready to serve, allow the confit to rest at room temperature for an hour, then lift as many pieces as you will need out of the fat.
  7. To serve at room temperature, brown as described above, then drain and allow to cool before serving. Cold duck is excellent with a green salad with a garlicky dressing.

To serve hot:

  1. Broil the pieces or cook them in a very hot oven in a little of their own fat or pan-fry them in a little of their own fat until the skin is crisp and deep brown and the meat is heated through. Drain and serve.

Tip

  • Goose fat can be rendered in the same way as duck fat. When roasting a duck or a goose, the fat may always be saved, after straining through cheesecloth, for use in cooking or in preparing a confit. Canned goose fat is available at many specialty stores, including Bremen House, 220 East 86th Street, 288-5500.

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