This week on Sous Vide Saturday I’m going to talk about one of those dishes that sous vide cooking was practically invented for: duck confit. It not only makes the process of making confit simple, the duck ends up tender and succulent, but with most of the excess fat rendered out.
To make a great confit you first need to cure the duck leg to reduce the moisture content, which concentrates the ducky goodness. I generously salt and peppered my duck leg, rubbed on a pinch of five spice powder, then set it on a tray, and left it uncovered in the fridge for two days. When I pulled it out of the fridge, a good amount of liquid had settled to the bottom of the tray, and the meat had firmed up.
In a traditional confit, the duck is then submerged in a bath of low temperature duck fat and braised until tender in its own fat. I didn’t have any rendered duck fat, so I ended up adding the cured duck to a bag with a few glugs of olive oil before sealing it.
It went into a 70 degrees C Sous Vide Supreme for about 14 hours. After removing the bag from the water bath, I threw it in the fridge and forgot about it for nearly a week as I worked my way through sous vide’s greatest hits.
When I got to the duck about a week later, it was almost completely encased in rendered fat and duck juices. After scraping some(but not all) of the fat off, I threw it in a frying pan and reheated the duck leg skin side up at first, and then down to crisp up the skin.
I reduced the duck juices that were in the bag with some red wine and sugar until the mixture had the consistency of honey. Some chopped white peaches went into the sauce until they were coated in the duck caramel, and I served the duck leg on top of the peach compote.
As expected, the confit was delicious, which is to say the sous viding process didn’t make the confit any better or worse than a duck confit made the traditional way. One thing I did like about sous viding the leg in an individual serving size bag was that it makes it very easy to store and prepare just one portion of duck. Normally when you make confit, you stick the whole pot in the fridge with all the duck submerged under the fat. This makes it difficult to retrieve just one leg and heat it up because the remaining duck is no longer covered in the protective layer of fat that helps preserve it.
Properly cured and cooked in a sealed bag, I suspect the duck confit would keep for much longer than one week in the fridge.
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