Firstly I have to get something of my chest, I feel like I have ignored the content of the blog. Yes I know there is only a few days between each entry however what once was a daily homage has had to be reduced due to TIME, therefore I apologize. My blog posts can take me up to an hour to assemble and then there is the organisation that takes place behind the scenes, making the dishes, taking, downloading and cataloging the photos. I have been taking most of the photos for the blog and although my better half has taught me how to compose a photo, I can honestly say I am not a very good student!! But I do try!!! I also do not want to just share any old recipe with you. I want to share home cooked tasty recipes with you which are slightly different than just plain old food. Although Ian and I eat well there are some days where we just gorge on junk and those days where I am experimenting with food can turn out pretty grim if the dish doesn't work out as well as anticipated. More often than not we like the dish but would make some small changes if made again. Ian is a great critique and I takes his comments seriously. I know if he really enjoys a dish because he goes back for seconds and completely cleans his plate. Once all the recipes have been perfected I then share them with all of you.
Todays recipe originally started a duck confit, however I couldn't find the main ingredients (that being the duck and the duck fat, typical!!!) at my local supermarket so I am trying it with chicken a lard .Sounds gross doesn't it. At this point I'm thinking of Julia Child's quote " Fat gives things flavor". When I was researching the recipe many cooks had said that they use lard to top up the duck fat if there wasn't enough and another recipe used chicken, so I thought I'd substitute the two ingredients.Confit is a way of preserving food too, as the first process salts the meat drawing out excess water preventing spoilage and once finished it can be kept for 2-6 months if kept in a cold dark place.
Making this confit was fun but scary. I loved the way the fat swirled in the pan once melted, it was almost mesmerizing. The calm memorizing swirl soon turned into a harsh sizzle once the meat was added, I kept thinking the more meat I add the more it will sizzle. I was envisaging the pan going up in flames, so for this reason I kept the fat on a low heat until all the meat was in the pan and then I adjusted the heat until it began to simmer gently. My nerves had been calmed. It then sat happily simmering away on the stove sending whiffs of roasted meat, in my case chicken. Once cooked the flesh was tender to touch and the taste (yes I sneaked a taste) was awesome. So Chicken in Lard does work.
4 Duck Legs
3 Tbsp Salt
Coat the duck legs in salt and marinate with the herbs and peppercorns for 12 hours minimum. Once marinated rinse the legs and dry. Melt the fat in a pan over a low heat and add the duck legs ensuring the fat covers all of the meat. If not top up the fat with some lard. Gently simmer for 2 hours and turn the duck legs over half way through the cooking process. (Some recipes state that you can bake them in an oven at 225 degrees for 2 hours. I prefer to simmer on the stove but both turn out well). Remove the duck legs and put in a glass container. Skim of any scum from the top of the fat and then pour the fat over the duck and cover fully. Allow to cool, cover and then refrigerate. It is best to leave the meat for a minimum of 2 weeks before using to allow flavor to enhance.
To cook the confit after it has been set in the fat, remove the legs and fry skin side down until golden brown and then flip to brown the other side. Discard excess fat from the frying pan. Duck/Chicken confit can be used in many ways in salads or served alongside baked potatoes. I plan to use mine in another French dish called Cassoulet.