I’ve looked at a number of recipes for sous vide duck confit and I remain confused about one thing. Different recipe recommend curing the duck legs anywhere from 24 hours to overnight to 6 hours to not at all. All of these recipes are written specifically for sous vide.
If you’ve made confit this way, did you cure for any length of time and how long did you go?
I have done sous vide confit several time and love it. There are a few things IMHO that are leading to the confusion 1) size of the duck legs 2) amount of salt in the cure 3) how salty people like their confit.
Larger legs = longer cure time
More salt = shorter cure
Saltier taste = longer cure
I find Keller’s method (easy to find online) results in too salty a confit for my taste. He uses a lot of salt. I prefer the amount used in “modernist cuisine” (found another’s blog post about it here)
It takes a little give and take to get your preferences tuned in (more a factor of the cure not the sous vide method). I think the modernist method doesn’t use bay leaves which I think are essential …
Interesting that Modernist calls for 18% by weight cure. Chefsteps (and I’ve had success with sous vide recommendations in the past) calls for only 2%, 1% if you prefer light seasoning. They don’t have you rinse the cure off, though. I also see that Modernist calls for a higher sous vide temperature than many other versions. I suspect I won’t go too wrong with any of these recipes.
Be sure to rinse off the salt in either Keller’s or Modernist versions.
It is hard to go too wrong with confit - getting the cure you like (salt amount, herbs, etc) is the hardest part but they all taste good. And while Keller’s was too salty for me, I had no problem eating it!
I love duck confit but it is easier to buy D’Artagnan’s duck confit esp now that it is carried by Giant Grocery store, same price as from D’Artagnan without having to pay for shipping.
It is hard enough cooking per their recipe which takes around 3 hours 30 min, and having to break the crust about 7 times., adding demiglaze to ensure the cassoulet does not dry out.
I even remember having to cook it more than 4 hours as D’artagnan does not recommend adding bread crumbs to make the crust which is a lazy way of getting that fantastic crust.
I do follow their recipe except I do not use coco tarbais beans ( too expensive) nor fresh fave beans, but rather white cannellini beans.
I have 6 D’artagnan’s duck confit in my freezer, but the problem is tracking down some garlicky sausage which Giant does not have. I the to go to the Farmer’s market in DC for them. Had purchased their chicken sausage from Giant, but did not like the taste , too bland! It is also too hot to have to turn that oven on!
Duck confit is just the duck legs slowly cooked in duck fat. It can be eaten by itself. I often serve it with a salad for a “light” dinner or lunch. The meat can also be stripped from the bone and turned into rillette (among many other things).
Cassoulet is a wonderful bean stew essentially, that does take a while to prepare and often contains duck confit among other meats like you mentioned.
D’artagnan sells both the duck confit by itself and in cassoulet if I remember correctly. They are a great source for traditional French fair and game meats.
We do eat a lot of duck legs, mostly I buy the maple duck legs from Costco, precooked, but cook it in the oven or turbo broiler till it becomes crispy. Usually discard the orange sauce but when I have guest, I add cointreau to the orange sauce, have another sauce ( pomegranate sauce with a splash of of Pama pomegranate liquor, and the usual soy, garlic, vinegar and pepper that my family personally prefer. This is also for the D’artagnan Duck Breast that I cannot be without.
I have never made duck confit, only buy it to cook cassoulet with and only when I have company.
Thanks for info about how to serve other ways.
During Christmas season, sometimes, D’artagnan will have a special for their kit which is unbelievably steal .
If you have a Polish market near you, try using fresh kielbasa in the cassoulet. It’s garlicky and peppery, and makes a great substitute for French garlic sausage. Some people use the smoked kind, but I prefer the raw, unsmoked one for cassoulet.
Just so that I don’t feel like I left details unsaid for anyone who finds this post - if you buy confit, it will be cooked but the skin will not be crisped. All you need to do is put the legs skin side down in a medium hot skillet and crisp up the skin - some people prefer to do it under a broiler as they feel it browns all the nooks and crannies better. You would do this if you’re serving it “straight” with a salad (for example). If you’re just pulling the meat off and discarding the skin, no need to really do anything.
no polish market here, but if i go to the farmer’s market in DC for the french garlic sausage, will try and see if there are fresh kielbasa. You are right, smoked sausages does not pair well with cassoulet.
I must say that I generally cook my confit in the oven, but I have done sous vide. Overall, I prefer the fat covered oven way, which I find very easy, but in fact, the taste difference is minimal, and sous vide is less messy (but you don’t get the great residual fat). I have a small oval covered pan, which is perfect for confit. I cook 5-7 hours at 210 Deg F. For two legs and thighs, I use a cure of :•
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 2 large shallots (12 ounces; 340g), diced fine
• 1 medium cloves garlic (30g) (depending on taste)
• 1 tbsp cup fresh rosemary, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme, you do not need to strip the leaves
• 2 teaspoons (6g) whole black peppercorns
• 2 star anise
• 1/2 tbsp. juniper berries
• 1/3 cup sage leaves
Chop it up in the spice blender, rub the legs all over, and vacuum seal and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Wash off cure before immersing in fat, and cook. For sous vide, I wash off the cure and re seal. I have never added fat back, but that makes sense to me
Now to the point of this reply. I used to crisp in a pan, but now I find that crisping in the broiler gives a prettier and crispier skin. I takes very little time, so secondary dry out is not a problem.
Fat can cleaned and saved, great for potatoes.
I do think the ducks in France has a higher meat to fat ratio, which I suppose makes a difference. I have never done one there sous vide, so I try and will report later this summer.