I am experimenting with sous vide cooking (cooking with a vacuum bag in a low temperature water bath), and I like Confit de Canard. So, let’s bring the two together!
Get a couple of duck legs. Trim excess skin and excess fat. Cut the loose small bits of meat and feed to the cat. Cure (the duck! not the cat!) with salt, thyme and black pepper over night, then rinse and dry (ignore the cat from now on, OK?). Put one or two legs into a vacuum bag and add one or two tablespoons of duck fat or goose fat per leg. Vacuum-seal the bag.
Don’t melt the fat first. Use cold or cool fat. Melted fat floats around in the bag and glues the open end together, making it difficult to accomplish a good vacuum.
Place flat into a deep baking or roasting tray, and fill up with warm water until the packets start floating. Put into the oven at 90C.
Come back 5 hours later.
Remove the bags from the water bath, and let cool down. I re-sealed mine after cooling down, as I had trapped some air. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to open the bags at all.
Kept cool, this will keep for weeks.
To prepare, remove the duck leg from the fat, and re-heat in a frying pan such that it browns on both sides. The remaining fat and juices are great for making fondant potatoes, which in turn are a great accompaniment to this dish. Maybe add some green beans or just a salad, and you have a new household favourite. It takes quite some while to make, but very little effort.
I found out later that I am not the first to make Confit de Canard using the sous vide method. This does not reduce my joy. I don’t claim to be the first, but this was a first for me. And a lovely discovery it was. It was bang on.
This is just the kind of food that I like. There’s a lot of hoo-ha about dishes like that when you’re a cooking magazine or food television addict in the U.K., but over in France, you’d get Confit de Canard as a lunchtime prix fixe menu in most Bistros now and then, and many French people consider Confit de Canard the lazy quick supper option when one doesn’t want to prepare a proper meal.
This dish now also has the official stamp of wife approval, hurrah! It was worth the effort after all!
Note that sources on the Internet vary widely with regards to temperature and duration. Temperature advise ranges from 65 to 120C, and duration ranges from 2 to 12 hours, so go figure! I am comfortable in the middle. 90C for 5 hours seems to work for me.
- Valentine’s Gift for Foodies: SousVide Supreme Makes for Red Hot Gift and Romantic Home Cooked Meal All-in-One (prweb.com)
- Sous-Vide 101: How to Cook the Most Tender and Flavorful Meat You’ve Ever Tasted (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- We love sous vide cooking (edinburghfoody.com)
- This Year, I’ve Been Mostly Eating… (gauweiler.net)