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Duck Confit

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

Yet to try it, but I love duck. But there's three factors wrong with it. 1. Just like chicken, duck is most economically purchased whole, 2. I'm a single man cooking for himself 99% of the time, and 3. Duck doesn't stay fresh very long. So preserving it seems necessary.  I've enough education under my belt to be very aware of the dangers of botulism, but confit and preserving is a subject yet to be covered in my culinary classes or my work experience. So question is, how is confit done safely?  Considering attempting a home made saurkraut for the occasion too.  

post #2 of 60

1) Nitrates or nitrites in the cure (always forgetting which one)

2) Can the legs, or just the meat, with duck fat after cooking.

3) After the intial cooking, let it chill, and remove the duck gellee. Get every thing hot again, and chill properly. The free moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. Save the gellee, it's a wonderfull ingredient.

4) As a single man, you should know that chicks dig confit. There shouldn't be enough left overs waiting to rot.

post #3 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetincook View Post

4) As a single man, you should know that chicks dig confit. There shouldn't be enough left overs waiting to rot.


 

Yeah but the trick is getting them to accept that invitation to dinner.

post #4 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

Yeah but the trick is getting them to accept that invitation to dinner.

"Say, wanna see my etchings confit?" lol.gif
 

 

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post #5 of 60

Hey baby, wanna monte aux buerre?thumb.gif

post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetincook View Post

1) Nitrates or nitrites in the cure (always forgetting which one)


FWIW I've never heard of nitrates or nitrites in duck confit. I've eaten duck confit all my life, mostly store bought, and I've never seen nitrates or nitrites listed in the ingredients. I have a can in front of me, ingredients are listed as:

 

Duck legs

Duck fat

Salt

 

I've never made my own though - but none of my books list nitrates or nitrites as an ingredient. confused.gif

 

post #7 of 60

Seemed like the natural addition if one was concerned about food borne illness. Confit is the perfect anaerobic environment.

post #8 of 60

If you make a confit properly there is VERY little danger of botulism. 

 

Best bet is to cure the duck legs overnight, rinse, and pat dry. Place snugly in a oven proof dish (dutch oven, casserole, whatever) and cover with clean, rendered duck fat. Place in an oven, set at about 300 (though lower is OK too, 250-300) and cook until the duck is very tender. Take out of oven, cool to room temp, then place in fridge to store. 

 

Easy. 

 

When needed, you can either gently warm the pan and take out the duck once the fat melts, or just reach in the cold fat and fish out the legs. 

 

Refrigeration will lessen the likelihood of botulism quite a bit (though the danger is small to begin with). If you notice any green mold or anything in the fat or on the pan after some time in the fridge, probably should throw it out, though this is unlikely to happen. 

post #9 of 60
Thread Starter 

I understand this is as safe as eating a can of green beans if done right, I'm just looking for all the tips to do this safely as possible. I don't think i'll can them though. I'll probably eatit within a few days, unless I make that sauerkraut.

post #10 of 60

I don't understand what you are concerned about....the way to prevent botulism is to cook it (which you will do for several hours above 250 degrees) and store it in the fridge. I don't think you need to "can" them at all...most people just store it covered in the fat it cooked in.

 

You could also, very simply, after the confit is out of the oven but before it cools completely, take duck legs out and place them in a fresh, sterilized container (another casserole or pot that you have boiled for several minutes) and strain the fat over them in the new dish. 

 

People have historically just stored this stuff in the cellar without refrigeration. 

 

There are like 20 cases of botulism a year...almost all of them from home canning. 

 

You'll be fine, don't be scared to make duck confit. 

 

post #11 of 60

I've made rillettes du porc, which is somewhat similar in preparation. After simmering the meat, spices and aromatics, I fished out the meat, shredded it and chilled it. I strained the fat. Then I put the cooled, shredded pork in a small crock with a lid that had a rubber seal. Re-melted the fat (just warm enough to liquefy) and poured it into the crock until it was just below the lid. I sealed it and chilled it. It kept for about 10 days; none of the meat tasted "off" or bad.

 

Assuming you have a properly-functioning refrigerator, I'd give it at least 10 days so long as it's submerged in the fat and chilled.

 

Bonne chance! Good luck with your confit.

 

Mezzaluna

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post #12 of 60
Thread Starter 

I'm having a very hard time finding any duck fat in the metro-detroit area.  Considering doing one of two things. Just roasting a batch really low and slow, accepting the fact that the first batch will not be completely submerged in the fat and not a true "confit" or augmenting with a different fat to get the reserve of fat going.  any suggestions? I understand a moulard duck has more than enough fat on it's own body but I know there's a snowball's chance in hell of finding that around here if I cant even find a tub of duck fat. 

post #13 of 60

About the only place that I have found duck fat is online I have checked about every specialty food store that I can find in my area and I have yet to find duck fat locally.

 

Am I wrong but for it to be confit, for it to have that tenderness doesn't the meat have to be fully immerged in the fat while being cooked?

post #14 of 60

Up in these parts Sysco Grand Rapids carries duck fat in 5# tubs....

post #15 of 60

I also have problems getting duck fat, I always use use goose fat it is just as good if you can get hold of it, and yes the meat should be fully immersed although I would not worry about a few bits poking out of the top, you can move them around after an hour or two. 

post #16 of 60
Thread Starter 

Yeah. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a confit is poaching technique. What I'm talking about would just be a braise but... at least it'd get me started. Or I might augment the ducks own fat with canola. 

post #17 of 60
Thread Starter 

So I've got a duck parted (yes i am finally weeks later getting around to trying this out).  I'm now in the curing stage. But I've got all this excess skin and fat that i've trimmed off off of the parts so they'd look nice, and from the back of the carcass.  So my question is: What is the best way to render the liquid fat out of these excess fat trimmings?  I couldn't find a tub of duck fat anywhere, so I will be using pure olive oil to augment the duck's fat.

post #18 of 60

put in a saucepan and add cold wayer bring up to a simmer and let it contiue to simmer a while on  low flame. water will evaporate away leaving fat only strain twice while hot thru cheesecloth.

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post #19 of 60

I feel very ambivalent about being so blunt but don't know any other way to go about it.  This is about as wrong as it could possibly be.

 

1) Nitrates or nitrites in the cure (always forgetting which one)

2) Can the legs, or just the meat, with duck fat after cooking.

3) After the intial cooking, let it chill, and remove the duck gellee. Get every thing hot again, and chill properly. The free moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. Save the gellee, it's a wonderfull ingredient.

4) As a single man, you should know that chicks dig confit. There shouldn't be enough left overs waiting to rot.

 

  1. No nitrate and/or nitrite cure; 
  2. No canning;
  3. No gelee;
  4. No chill / hot again / chill properly;
  5. No free moisture; and
  6. By definition, confit is "leftovers."  

 

Making confit is a fairly straightforward process.  There are recipes all over the net, mine is nothing special other than that I don't measure, and not worth repeating since you can find a great many just as good. It's the process more than the exact ingredients which makes confit so good.

 

The leg quarters are "marinated" for a day or two in a mix of a few dry spices -- which do not contain "curing salts;" they are brushed clean of the marinade.

 

Meanwhile the cook melts enough duck fat in a pot to fully submerge the quarters (the fat might be mildly seasoned with a bay leaf or two, and perhaps a few cloves or a trimmed head of garlic; the quarters are fully submerged in the just-melted fat;  the heat is slowly raised to poaching temperature (190 - 205F); the temperature is held until the quarters are cooked to "very tender;' are first poached in mildly seasoned duck fat (about 2 hours). 

 

When the legs are done, they are wiped clean; and the fat is carefully strained so that it's very clean.  The quarters are placed in a clean bowl or pan, and completely submerged in the purified fat.  The fat is allowed to cool to room temp, then placed -- uncovered -- in the refrigerator.  When it is quite cold, it may be covered -- preferably with something close and reasonably air-tight.  The confit (both fat and duck) will keep for about 3 months refrigerated. 

 

Chilled, clarified fat doesn't breed bacteria easily; while the duck meat is held submerged and anaerobic.  Properly speaking, one doesn't say a confit is preserved.  Rather, it's a preservation method itself.

 

If you can't find enough duck or goose fat to submerge the duck, don't make confit.  Substituting vegetable oil for fat is like deep frying in water.  It is what it is. Sorry if I stepped on any toes.

 

Hope this clarifies,

BDL

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post #20 of 60

Wrong? I think not so much. We can discuss the 'correct' way to make confit all day long, but the OP asked for technique to reduce the threat of botulism, and I obliged.

 

Botulinum thrives in a moist, non acidic, anaerobic environment. Which pretty much describes confit.

 

 

post #21 of 60

Just my $0.02, however, from the descriptions of confit that I'm familiar with, there is very little, if any, "moisture" (read water) in correctly prepared confit. The salt and duck fat serve as a preservative.

 

As BDL stated #5 No free moisture

 

Oh, and I've never heard of a "cure", i.e. involving any salt other than NaCl, being necessary or desired.

 

BTA, WTHDIK
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thetincook View Post

Wrong? I think not so much. We can discuss the 'correct' way to make confit all day long, but the OP asked for technique to reduce the threat of botulism, and I obliged.

 

Botulinum thrives in a moist, non acidic, anaerobic environment. Which pretty much describes confit.

 

 



 

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post #22 of 60

I don't think a cure is NECESSARY from a safety standpoint, but it would certainly help in the long term viability of confit as storage. It also goes a long way to seasoning the meat and making it even more delicious. And I'm talking a quick cure, like no more than 24 hours. But I think curing legs for confit is fairly standard practice. 

post #23 of 60


Originally Posted by Someday View Post

 

I don't think a cure is NECESSARY from a safety standpoint, but it would certainly help in the long term viability of confit as storage. It also goes a long way to seasoning the meat and making it even more delicious. And I'm talking a quick cure, like no more than 24 hours. But I think curing legs for confit is fairly standard practice. 

 

Oy.

 

Curing does not effect "long term viability of confit as storage."  The nitrite and nitrite/nitrate cures help prevent botulinum growth in products which are cold smoked, air dried and so on; but not cooked.  Why would you "cure" something which was not only cooked through, but cooked somewhat past well done to an internal in excess of 180F -- before being completely covered in solid, clarified fat and stored cold.

 

Cures like Prague #1 don't taste like much beyond salty.  Cures like Morton Tender Quick don't taste like much beyond salty and sweet.

 

Usually the terms "quick cure" and "fast cure" are reserved for the product itself, not the curing time.  Appropriate curing time in a nitrite and/or nitrate cure depends on several different things -- none of which you addressed.

 

"Curing legs for confit" in nitrites and/or nitrates is not "fairly standard."  If it happens at all, it's done by cooks "weak on the principle."  How often have you seen pink duck confit?  Do you have many examples of duck confit with a nitrite or nitrite/nitrate cure?  On the other hand, "curing" in salt as part of the prep is pretty much universal.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/16/11 at 11:37am
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post #24 of 60
Thread Starter 

Well here's where I am:

 

I "cured" it with heavy salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and smashed garlic for 24 hours. Reserved the thyme, garlic, and bay leaf and rinsed the parts of the salt and pepper (I am using the all four quarters, not just legs).  Put in the legs into an enamel dutch oven, skin side down, with the fat trimmings, back skin, garlic and herbs on top. Covered most of the way with olive oil, allowing the unrendered fat to cover it the rest of the way.  Been in the oven at 200 for 3 hours, intend on taking it out before bed.  Going to allow it to cool stove-top for an hour, then remove the legs, strain the fat and put it back into the pot and store for 3 days until I have guests Saturday night. Saturday I'll simply brown the skin and serve with pommes fondant.  Had a lentil salad in mind too, but my finances took a dive this week so I'll be skipping that part.  Potatoes cooked in duck fat and duck demi-glace sounds still amazing, anyways.  Any suggestions or concerns with my process thus far?

post #25 of 60

BDL

 From what I have seen only things that contain Nitrites and or nitrates and or saltpeter is corned beef, pickled tongue and frankfurters. To use them in other things could be real dangerous.  The salt process described above by priceluck  is more  like  a gravlox prep.

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post #26 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

BDL

 From what I have seen only things that contain Nitrites and or nitrates and or saltpeter is corned beef, pickled tongue and frankfurters. To use them in other things could be real dangerous.


Quite the opposite, actually. There is a reason why botulism is Latin for 'sausage disease'. The botulism bacteria was first isolated from a ham.

 

post #27 of 60

pcieluck --

Sounds alright, but it isn't -- properly speaking -- confit.  It's duck poached in olive oil.  Poaching it in (more or less pure) duck fat is part of the confit process, as is burying it in clarified duck fat.  Why are you holding it three days?  Why not cook the day before?  The flavors will have more than adequate time to marry and settle down, and you won't have any preservation issues.

 

Make sure all of the fat is completely rendered from the breasts before storing.

 

Normally the breasts can be used more profitably.  They don't need the sort of long, slow cooking they'll get in a confit.  Quite the opposite, they're  generally considered best sauteed rare with nice, crisp [yum] skin.  If it were me, I'd buy two ducks and break them down; saute the breasts as part of dinner for four, using the liver for "dirty rice;' confit the leg quarters, reserving them for cassoulet, duck salad, etc.; reserve the rendered fat (after the leg quarters are used) for all sorts of good things; and use the wings and carcass for stock.  But it's your duck and your nickel. 

 

By the way, where are you located?  Aren't you around Detroit?  Or, do I have you confused with someone else?  If you're in or near any large US population center you should be able to get duckfat -- if only by ordering it through a butcher.

 

ed --

I get your point, but know a lot of other uses for nitrite and/or nitrate cures.  It's an integral part of all sorts of preservation -- which don't involve thorough cooking before storage.

 

thetincook --

I've tried a few times to address your issues in this post, but no matter how hard I try my efforts seem too personal.  Although I know you're "information" is way off base, I don't want to attack you over it.  If you want to talk, PM me. 

 

I'm out of this thread.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/16/11 at 6:30pm
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post #28 of 60
Thread Starter 

are you saying it'll be bad on saturday? I did it today because i work the rest of the week, and it was going to be the only day i'd be around, pretty much all day, to take care of it.  even though i'm sure i could have left it at such a low temperature in the oven with no danger.  and yes i do live in the metro-detroit area

post #29 of 60

If I thought it would be bad on Saturday, I'd have said it.  You probably aren't surprised to learn I don't do subtle hints very well. It would have been better if you could have held off a little, but oh well.

 

You should be able to find duck fat in metro Detroit -- if you don't have a restaurant supply which does, than through a butcher.  That's why they invented next time.

 

I'm sure it will be great.

 

BDL

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post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post


Originally Posted by Someday View Post

 

 

Oy.

 

Curing does not effect "long term viability of confit as storage."  The nitrite and nitrite/nitrate cures help prevent botulinum growth in products which are cold smoked, air dried and so on; but not cooked.  Why would you "cure" something which was not only cooked through, but cooked somewhat past well done to an internal in excess of 180F -- before being completely covered in solid, clarified fat and stored cold.

 

Cures like Prague #1 don't taste like much beyond salty.  Cures like Morton Tender Quick don't taste like much beyond salty and sweet.

 

Usually the terms "quick cure" and "fast cure" are reserved for the product itself, not the curing time.  Appropriate curing time in a nitrite and/or nitrate cure depends on several different things -- none of which you addressed.

 

"Curing legs for confit" in nitrites and/or nitrates is not "fairly standard."  If it happens at all, it's done by cooks "weak on the principle."  How often have you seen pink duck confit?  Do you have many examples of duck confit with a nitrite or nitrite/nitrate cure?  On the other hand, "curing" in salt as part of the prep is pretty much universal.

 

BDL



Where in my post did I mention the use of nitrates/nitrites? Oy yourself.

 

Listen, I was in no way shape or form condoning the usage of nitrates in a confit storage. You either misread my post, and didn't bother to read any of my other posts in this thread that address a lot of the other issues you raise in your response. 

 

I would appreciate that in the future, if you intend to drop some sort of "knowledge bomb" you go ahead and comprehend my post before you do so. I'll repeat...in no way, shape of form did I mention nitrates. 

 

And, as I stated, while a cure isn't a necessary step in the confit process, the salt will draw out some of the moisture present in the meat, and since bacteria need moisture, the curing process will have at best a positive effect on the preservation, and at worst, little to no effect. But the cure will DEFINITELY have a positive effect on the taste of the meat in terms of seasoning.

 

Thank you. 

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