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NY Times Duck Confit recipe w/ no extra fat - Anyone tried?

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I've been planning on making duck confit for a while now scoping out places to get large quantities of duck fat locally, but then I came across this article and recipe in the NY Times with a method for making confit requiring no additional fat than what's in the duck pieces:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/din...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/din...

So I wanted to see if anyone has tried this yet and what the results were? Making confit without having to plunk down some big $$ on duck fat would be great!

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  1. i haven't tried it, but since the process of confit is technically supposed to be a means of preserving meat that has been cooked in its OWN fat, i'd imagine this is the way it was originally done, without the addition of fat from other sources.

    but maybe someone with more experience & knowledge can chime in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I don't see the problem with cooking it in its own fat or some other duck's fat.
      But I hate to see these down-and-dirty recipes that call themselves something that they sort of aren't.
      Yeah, confit is a method of preserving. We don't have to worry about that any more, but the flavor that develops while the food mellows in the fat is an important part of the dish.
      When I pull some out after a couple of weeks, the flavor is very much richer than when it was just cooked. Just like rillettes. So much better later.

      This recipe seems like a method for "cooking" duck in a lot of fat. Almost pan-frying it in the oven.
      Yum! But is it really "confit?"

    2. I see absolutely no problem with making confit in this manner, plus you'll save yourself some $$$. Go for it.

      1. I'm curious about this also, but here's my question--does it have to just be legs? Why can't I buy a whole duck from my local market & cut it up and include the breasts?

        1 Reply
        1. re: mommasue

          Jacques Pépin has a recipe for cooking a whole duck like that (it was on one of his shows). As I recall, you cut it up in 8 pcs, salt and pepper it, put it in a deep frying pan skin down, cover it until the fat begins to draw, uncover it, and then just let it cook until it's done, turning it over from time to time. The breasts come out first. Tried it once and found it ok but messier than my usual duck system (steaming for an hour and then roasting).

        2. In an interview about Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Nathanial Myhrvold was asked what was the biggest surprise he had in researching the books. He responded: "That cooking meat submerged in fat—a technique known as confit—does not depend on the fat at all. You can steam the meat (at the same temperature and time) and nobody can tell the difference."

          Makes me want to take a closer look at the books!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ascender

            having eaten an awful lot of duck prepared in an awful lot of different ways, I seriously doubt that.

          2. We take the fat we can get and augment it with olive oil. I find the taste of the duck meat to be strong enough that I really can't tell the difference. Maybe if I was eating the two preps side by side, but I'm not. This week I'm contemplating using leftover duck fat to confit chicken thighs...will see how that goes.

            1. I did this when the recipe was published last year. I thought it was very good-- though I've never made it the traditional way to compare.

              1. It's a recipe for roast duck, but not confit. In a pinch I have augmented duck fat with olive oil with good results. Again if you don't have enough to cover the duck legs entirely turn them over halfway through the cooking time.