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As soon as one uses the original French culinary term, expectations are high. The kitchen expects a certain degree of difficulty in the preparation and dinner guests expect a certain technique and taste associated with the terminology.
But, often the difficulty is more in the pronunciation than the execution! As is the case with confit. Confit comes from the French word confire, which means to preserve and indicates slow and extended cooking as a method of preservation. (Read more) A speciality of southwestern France, in cooking, confit indicates that something has been slowly cooked in oil or syrup at a low temperature. Salt curing of meat takes place before the confit and the results is the most tender and melt-in-the-mouth meat.
Why not add ‘confit’ to your Festive menu this year. You can do most of it beforehand, with only the grilling at the end and it will be very difficult to not impress your guests! If you have any doubt, serve with the 2015 Culinaria Pinot Noir – it is a match made in heaven!
Recipe for Confit of Duck with Roasted Plums
1 cup rock-salt
4 duck leg and thigh quarters
700 ml duck fat
2 star anise
4 sprigs thyme
1 tsp peppercorns
Baking-paper to cover
3 plums, stoned and halved
2 tbsp brown sugar
6 tsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the duck quarters on a tray and sprinkle the rock-salt over and under. Leave to cure overnight.
Melt the duck fat in a wide-base sauce-pot. Remove the duck quarters from the salt and lightly rinse them.
Place the duck quarters, star anise, thyme and black peppercorns in the melted duck fat and bring to confit temperature. Note that confit takes place at a low temperature (93°C) and should not fry in the fat. The pot should be bubbling gently.
Cut the baking-paper into a round disc to cover the surface of the pot. Place it on top of the duck confit and cook very gently until the duck is tender (approximately 2 – 3 hours).
Remove from the stove and leave to cool.
Once ready for serving, pre-heat the oven at the grill setting.
Place the duck quarters on a roasting tray, skin side up. Prepare the plums by placing a knob of butter on each half, sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the plums and place them next to the duck on the tray.
Place the tray in the centre of the oven and grill until the duck skin is crisp and the plums are caramelised.
Serve with a rich duck jus and 2015 Culinaria Pinot Noir.
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