Looking for a Good Duck
One Thing I’ve learned in my 20+ years on this planet is that when someone excitedly sends you a recipe and asks if you want to make it, you say YES. Such things cannot be ignored. To be truthful, I’d never envisioned myself cooking duck or having anything to do with that particular meat outside of a restaurant. THH guest blogger, Juliette Melton, had sent a link to a New York Times recipe for Really Easy Duck Confit. A time and date was set and ho’boy, we ate well. Lesson learned: duck confit is really fricken tasty. Double points for serving it with a duck fat veggie mix and a simple dino kale.
The hard part (it seemed to me) was finding where to buy 8 duck legs. Julie was up to the task and I was lucky enough to have her bring over the pre-chilled salt/pepper/bay leaf/thymed bird legs. That’s step 1. Let’s just jump right into an adjusted recipe…
Really Easy Duck Confit
adapted from a New York Times recipe by Melissa Clark
- 1 1/2 teaspsoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 8 duck legs, rinsed and patted dry
Combine the salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf in a bowl. Sprinkle over the duck. (The original recipe didn’t specify but Julie says she only had enough mixture to sprinkle on the top of the duck legs. Top being the opposite of the fat side which there is NO mistaking. Eww, fatty! The duck legs should lay in a single layer on a baking pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, preheat your oven to 325 F.
You’ll first need to render most of the fat off the fatty side of the meat. Heat one well-seasoned skillet (or two as we needed) over medium-high heat. If you’ve got splatter screens, bust those guys out. If you don’t, beware a mess.
Place the 8 duck legs in the hot pans and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes. You’re looking for a 1/4 inch deep fat pool. Once they’ve cooked at least 10 minutes, you may want to check the browning process and rotate the legs around the skillet to cook evenly. If you try to pick one up and the skin sticks, let it keep cooking!
Since we used two pans, we placed the duck legs upside down in one large roasting pan. Pour the duck fat from each skillet into the pan. Cover the pan with foil and set in your pre-heated oven. Roast for 2 hours. (*see veggie recipe below*) Remove the foil and roast for 1 more hour until browned and lovely.
Remove the duck legs from the fat, place on a paper towel and tent with foil until the rest of your dinner is ready. Reserve the duck fat for more delicious projects at a later date!
During the foil removal, we snagged a few spoonfuls of duck fat to use on top of an improvised hearty veggie roast. How does one make a veggie roast? Easy!
A Duck Fat Veggie Roast
recipe created by Laura Brunow Miner & Co.
- 1 leek, well rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch segments
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch segments
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp+ rosemary
- 2 tsp+ thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the prepared vegetables and herbs in a roasting pan while the duck is cooking at 325 F and covered in foil. When the time comes to take the foil of the duck after 2 hours, remove the duck pan out of the oven and ladle 4-5 spoonfuls of excess duck fat into the vegetable roasting pan. Stir the veggies around until evenly coated with fat. When you put the duck back in to cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, add the pan of vegetables to the oven as well. Continute to cook until the duck is finished and the veggies are soft and caramelized.
Serve the duck with veggies, some simply prepared dino kale and crusty bread. Presto! You’ve got a fantastic meal for you and a few friends.
Now for the next fun task: what does one do with a jar full of duck fat in their refrigerator?? Cooking tips? Suggestions?