I have a very exciting recipe for you today!
My friend and follower of Vanilla Bean, David , asked if I would be interested in posting his recipe on my blog. I said "Of course!" Although, I've never attempted cooking duck. He offered to cook it, take pictures and everything! I obviously agreed and I was honestly flattered.
So, Tuesday morning comes around and I had forgotten David's promise. Not only had he sent me the recipe and pics, he even gave me a SAMPLE!! I was totally over the moon! That evening, I followed his re-heating instructions, making sure to put it on broil at the very end to crisp up the skin. It was beautiful. I shared it with my family. My sister who really likes duck, said it was the best duck she's ever had! My father, who's never had tried it , really loved it. He was surprised at how great duck could be.
It was increadibly tasty, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. David had said to me, "Make sure to try some of the fat! Its not like other animal fats- taste it." lol I guess he knows I'm squeamish about fat.
So I did try it, with some reservation, squinting my eyes, getting ready .....but he was right, its nothing like chicken fat or anything like that. It melts in your mouth and has a buttery texture. I never thought I'd feel this way about FAT! lol
The following is in David's words. I'm sure you'll enjoy reading this as much as I did.
(David)- First, you’ll need some basic ingredients like duck legs & duck fat. I always buy my legs directly at Le canard du Lac Brome in Knowlton (my brother lives in Granby). They have another store in Montreal, but they didn’t tell me if they sold legs in bulk (10 legs for roughly $35). You can also buy legs from “Les Champs d’Élisé”. The legs are bigger, the ducks there are “force-fed” since they produce Foie Gras. The legs can be had fresh or frozen. If the legs are frozen just let them thaw for a couple of days in the fridge.
The duck fat can be bought almost anywhere, here have 2 X 670g on right, the left container was left over from the previous batch. That’s the good thing, cooking a new batch of legs will give you more fat, and the fat can be reused.
First step is to rinse the legs. We are dealing with poultry, so we must be very careful not to cross-contaminate utensils and plates, and we must wash hands regularly !
OK, now time to prepare the rub … Just mix in a bowl:
· 4 tablespoons of sea/coarse salt
· 2 tablespoons of whole peppercorns
· 2 tablespoons of garlic (went the lazy way and took dehydrated this time)
· 2 tablespoons of rosemary (I was out, so I used herbes de Provence)
Like you can tell, you can improvise with this at will …
Then rub each leg with the mix and put in a container. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Good morning! This is what we look like after a day in salted rub ! The salt is going to “disgorge” the meat (removes water-don’t know if this is how you say it in English…). Obviously the mix provide all those yummy flavours too.
Time to rinse and pat the legs dry… We want to remove the salt mainly
Place the legs, meat side down/fat side up, in oven casserole dishes.
Now is time to use that fat … But we need to melt it first !
Then we pour the fat over the legs. There's no need to cover them completely, as long as the meaty part is submerged in the“juice”
Then, cook for 2 hours in the oven at low heat, say 250-275 degrees. We don’t want to boil the legs, just let them cook in the fat. The fat can simmer a little, but not boil.
And here is the final result:
Remove the legs from the pans, drain & filter the fat. Freeze it, you can reuse it for another batch, or you can also use it to replace butter in recipes (sautéed veggies in duck fat is HEAVENLY )
Besides, duck fat is a "good fat", much like olive oil. This lovely yellow oil is going to become white fand solid when cooled !
You can freeze the legs and eat them at a later date. Be sure to thaw them in the fridge - thawing them on the counter may promote bacteria growth and we wouldn't want that!
To re-heat, just put them in the oven @ 350 for about 15-20 minutes, then broil them to make the skin crisp and yummy. And go ahead, you can eat some of the fat too…
You can serve them with veggies, rice (basmati is good) but also couscous, they go along with almost anything ! Mushroom risotto ?! Thank God my keyboard is drool-resistant !
You can also use the meat to make raviolis, dumplings, etc …
This dish comes from France’s Sud-Ouest (Périgord), so it is a natural match for the wines of that region… Madiran, Cahors, etc … But many full bodied red wines will do.
Stephanie's mention: Thank you David for being a follower of Vanilla Bean, for providing this wonderfully detailed post and of course, for giving me the opportunity to taste it!!!