This is an ingredient post. I am trying to make my first cassoulet using a Gourmet mag recipe (wish me luck - there are a lot of steps). One of our boutique groceries had duck confit legs already, which I bought. They are a leg per plastic bag, sitting in lots of solidified fat. I’ve never used this product before, and want to be careful not to waste any of it since it was very $$$ to buy. How best to separate the fat from the leg, to use it for roasted potatoes or whatnot? While it’s cold? Warm it up? Warm it up in a hot water bath or some other way? Also, once I remove meat from legs, throw away the bones? Keep them and use them - how? Thanks everyone.
I inelegantly scrape it off with my fingers while its cold. Placing the bag in warm water until it melts and then pouring it off will also work. Make sure there are no leaks in the bag.
Yup, what @Rainycatcooks said. Leftover bones go with other leftover bones in a bag in the freezer for stock. For me, a few duck bones in with a bunch of chicken bones does not hugely affect the flavor.
Can you share which month and year?
I’ve seen similar duck confiy legs sold, though I’ve never tried them. I enjoy making duck leg confit on my own occasionally. It takes a long time in the oven, so the skin should come off easily with gentle scraping or your fingers. If it’s too cold, try warning it up first.
You can make cracklings with the excess skin. Toss on top of a salad (salt if needed), or as a bit of crisp topping on the cassoulet at the end. I use the confiit duck legs to make cheat version of Peking duck wraps, and I crisp up some of the skin in the pan so I get some crispy skin in the pancakes.
At lot of fat gets rendered during the cooking process, so I don’t know how much more fat it will give if you render further. It might require more time than it’s worth to get enough fat for cooking.
The recipe uses the skin, as you said, to make cracklings and then mix those into some bread crumbs and herbs for a topping.
So my brilliant idea is not so original. I’ve seen cracklings in tons of recipes too, so I should have figured. I’ve never reused the leg bones for anything since it’s only one or two legs at a time, but when you have the typical peking duck meal, the bones of the whole duck are often repurposed for a soup that is served during the meal too.
Why not make your own? I have never felt that the canned/preserved was as good. It takes some work to prep/marinate, and a long time in the oven, but you can make it a couple of days before the cassolet.
(I sent you a recipe. Be sure to save the fat. You can use it for confit 2 more times, after that it gets too salty.)
Thanks. One day I might. This week wasn’t it. I have exactly 0 experience cooking duck, so that is a mental stumbling block for me. But also, a very full schedule. And sometimes, a helping hand is what’s called for.
Paula Wolfert, the queen of cassoulet, says in her Med slow cooking book that duck confit can be made very well and easily in a slow cooker. I could paraphrase the method if you would like. I’ve done in it the oven at least a dozen times and the slow cooker version produced very similar results.
Drop the unopened bag in a pan of simmering water. Once the fat has melted completely, fetch the bag out, let it cool a little while, cut a corner of the pouch and pour the liquefied fat into a jar through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. After that you’re free to grab the leg out of the bag and proceed with the cassoulet process. The fat should keep for a few months in the fridge.
For those of us who lack patience, David Lebovitz has a quick cassoulet toast recipe which looks interesting: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/recipe-cassoulet-toast-susan-spungen-open-kitchen-duck-confit-beans/