Photographer: Todd Zawistowski
Move aside turkey, it's time for a new bird to step up to the plate. The French got it right when they introduced duck confit into the world--succulent meat, crispy skin, and flavor through and through. If you want to try a new recipe this holiday season, duck confit makes the perfect poultry substitution that even kids and die-hard turkey-fans will fall in love with. Serve with lentils and arugula for a classic preparation, or with whatever strikes your fancy!
See this recipe in October 2012 Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine!
5 pounds duck legs
72 ounces (9 cups) rendered duck or chicken fat
3 ounces kosher salt
2 ounces light brown sugar
1 tablespoon quatre épices (mixture of 1 teaspoon black pepper and ½vteaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, ground
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 black peppercorns
Trim the legs of excess fat and reserve fat for rendering. Combine ingredients for cure mix in a stainless steel mixing bowl and rub thoroughly over duck legs. Place duck legs in a stainless steel pan, press with a weight, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two days. Remove cured duck legs from refrigerator, rinse under cold water and pat dry. In a medium saucepan warm rendered duck or chicken fat over low heat until liquefied.
Place duck legs in a large stock pot, cover with fat and simmer on medium-low heat for two to three hours until legs are fork tender. Transfer confited duck legs to a stainless steel hotel pan, cover with fat and cool. Store in refrigerator.
Before serving heat 1 tablespoon duck fat in sauté pan over medium-high heat, add duck legs and cook until crisp on the outside and heated through. Serve with braised lentils and arugula.