No Turkey at Our Table . . . No Ham in Our House . . .
This is how we celebrate the festive season at my place – with duck confit.
Being Jewish, we don’t celebrate Christmas but why should we miss out on all the delicious traditional food of the season? So in our nod to the festive season, we sometimes do like to indulge in roast turkey with all the trimmings, steamed plum pudding with brandy sauce and custard, the best fruit cake we can get our hands on and of course our fabulous Monday Morning Cooking Club chocolate almond tree.
To my taste, duck trumps turkey any time, and confit duck kills it. I’ve always been fascinated with confit, ever since learning about it from one of the best teachers – Damien Pignolet. He taught us, decades ago, how to make confit rabbit. And from Paula Wolfert via Stephanie Alexander, I learnt to confit duck.
It is a time consuming and messy process, I won’t lie. It takes two days. Yes, two days. But the result is so spectacular that I think it is worth the effort once every so often. The good thing is you can keep the fat in the freezer from year to year and that way you can keep your rendering to a minimum. It’s also a great thing to make in a large quantity and then just store in twos or fours until you need in the fridge. The flavour is like nothing else!
If you want to render duck fat, ask your butcher to give you a few bags of raw duck fat. Simply place it in a large pot and cook slowly on a low heat until it is clear and golden. Strain through muslin (I use Chux wipes) and store in the fridge in a sterilized container until needed. Will keep in the freezer for years and can be re-used for confit again and again as long as sterilization processes are always followed. You can also buy duck or goose fat in cans but it is very expensive. If you have a nice poultry supplier you can ask if they will render the duck fat for you. And with all that duck fat around, remember that potatoes are transformed into legendary golden crunchy flavoursome morsels when roasted in duck fat.
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