CARAWAY DUCK CONFIT
Few things feel quite as indulgent as canard confit. Save, perhaps, for homemade canard confit. Cured first in salt and then cooked gently for hours bathed in duck fat, the cooked meat is then stored in more fat where it may remain in stasis for several months if needed. Now blessed with such luxuries as refrigeration, the confit process is one of desire as opposed to necessity. There is no meat juicier, no skin crisper than that of briefly pan-seared confit duck leg.
Aniseed is a favourite bed-fellow of duck, bringing balance to the rich, fatty meat. We’ve opted to gently flavour our duck legs with caraway seed – one of my favourite spices. It brings that gentle aniseed flavour that partners so well with duck whilst also adding a nutty, earthy savouriness. Accompanied by garlic and thyme, it’s a spell-binding combination.
Though a lengthy cooking time, it is almost entirely hands-off with the simplest of prep.
A dinner-party special awaits.
4 Large Duck Legs,
1 tsp. Caraway Seeds,
2 Bay Leaves,
3 Garlic Cloves,
1 Small Bunch of Thyme,
Generous Pinch of Salt & Pepper
2 tsp. Caraway Seeds,
1 Small Bunch of Thyme,
1 Small Garlic Clove, minced
500g Duck Fat, more or less depending on size of the dish
CURING THE DUCK LEGS
- Place a small pan over a medium heat, add the caraway seeds into the dry pan and gently toast them for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
- Grind the toasted caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Combine the ground spices, minced garlic and salt to make the cure.
- Rub the cure all over the duck legs and add the thyme, cover and transfer to the fridge to cure overnight.
COOKING THE DUCK
- Preheat the oven to 120ºC (fan).
- Rinse the curing salt from the duck legs and pat thoroughly dry.
- Place the duck legs into an oven-safe dish, deep enough to hold the meat and add the bay leaves, thyme, garlic cloves and caraway seeds. Cover the duck legs with duck fat.
TIP – The smaller the dish and the snugger the duck legs are packed, the less duck fat you will require.
- Cover the dish with foil and place into the oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the duck from the oven and remove from the fat, Place a large pan over a medium heat and lay the duck legs skin-side-down in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crisp and serve.
- Alternatively, you can leave the duck legs to cool in the fat before storing in the fridge. Then, when ready to use simply pan fry them on each side for 3-4 minutes until warmed through and the skin is crisp.
- Serve as desired, whether with traditional Lyonnais potatoes, shredded and tossed through a salad, perhaps as part of a cassoulet. However you choose, you’re guaranteed success.