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Duck Confit at a Glance
Gascony, Southwest France, Western Europe
Type of Charcuterie
Duck legs, duck thighs, duck fat, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme
Confit de canard
Duck Confit Description
Duck confit is one type of food that was born out of both practicality and necessity. Before the day and age of refrigeration there was a need to use every part of any slaughtered carcass, including those of fowl. The term confit is a preservation technique where the ingredients are submerged in a substance to increase its flavor and shelf life.
The preparation of duck confit dates back to early times, and although this is made throughout France, it is most common in the southwest region, particularly Gascony where it is a specialty. The Gascons mastered the art of preserving the fattiest parts of a duck when the time to fill the larders and slaughter the animals came.
Despite being an age old preserving technique and coming about due to necessity, duck confit has gone from simple peasant food to gourmet fare. It is a main ingredient in the French cassoulet dish and can also be prepared in many different ways.
Making duck confit begins with curing the meat by rubbing it with salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and other desired spices. It is then left to cure for 24 to 36 hours allowing the seasoning to seep into the meat and fat.
Once ready the spices are then brushed or washed off the duck then the meat is patted dry and placed in a deep cooking dish. This is poached in an oven with low temperatures for 4 to 10 hours, or until the meat is tender and has rendered fat. When cool the duck is canned or placed in a jar along with the rendered fat. This will keep anywhere from a few weeks to six months.
As a result of the preservation process, duck confit is very tender. It may be used whole or easily shredded when adding it to dishes. Also, its meat is succulent without being oily. In terms of flavor, it is slightly salty without being overwhelmingly so.
Duck confit is often enjoyed by many with its skin crisped. It goes well with potatoes and salad greens. As mentioned earlier it may be added to other dishes. The shredded meat may be used for sandwiches, canapés, stews and many more.
Photo Credit: AllanThinks