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November 2010 COTM: WOLFERT- Fowl

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  1. Yesterday my DH began the annual confit making as laid out in TCSWF. He cut up 4 ducks, put the skin in a pot, rendered the fat, and now the legs and thighs are in the fridge having had their rub. Tonight, they will be cooked in the fat, very, very slowly.

    14 Replies
      1. re: dkennedy

        Well, he certainly is somewhat of an expert on both confit and cassoulet. This has been going on for some 20 years or so!

        1. re: roxlet

          well I have a question for you. Its been maybe 15 years since I made confit. Last night I completed the process and put the cooked duck legs wings down in a glass crock, pouring the clear heated fat over as instructed and putting the crock in a cold place. this am, the duck fat had congealed but about 1/3 of the content height in the jar was filled with juices. Is this the norm in your process. I see from the recipe that the salt is added to the jar to keep the juices from souring but I was a little taken aback by the extent of the juice.

          ps the duck tastes wonderful.

          1. re: jen kalb

            In Wolfert's instructions (the newer ed., p 202, step 7), she says to ladle the hot clear fat over the duck pieces and to avoid the "more perishable cloudy fat and meat juices at the bottom of the pot."

            If you included that bottom-of-the-pot stuff, it probably only means that you'd have a hard time keeping that confit in good shape for more than two or three weeks. But this is my first time, too, so others might well know better.

            1. re: jen kalb

              My DH says that the problem is that you poured the duck fat over the confit. The juices are in the bottom of the pot, and you are supposed to ladle the fat from the top of the pot into the crock leaving the juices behind. He suggests that you melt the confit in a low oven, remove the duck, ladle the clear fat off the top into a pot leaving the juice behind. Bring the fat to a boil to remove any remaining liquid. Clean the crock, then return duck pieces to it, and ladle the cooled fat over the top.

              1. re: roxlet

                Good tips! I wonder if your husband has an answer to one further issue I'm anticipating: I followed Wolfert's instructions by using a layer of lard on top after the duck fat had congealed around the duck parts. But will I ever be able to reuse that duck fat (apart from having lard-flavored duck fat) down the road?

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  I know for a fact that he has never used lard on top of the the crock. We keep the confit in the fridge, and never have any problems. In fact, we just finished last year's confit about a week ago, and it was still fabulous.

                2. re: roxlet

                  well, I followed the instructions exactly. I allowed the cooked duck to cool down to room temperature and then removed the duck to the crock. the duck legs fell apart quite a lot when being removed. My feeling is that they were a bit overcooked. (I had complied with the temp requirements on stovetop.) I then reheated the duck fat as specified, it was clear with no appreciable juices or cloudy portion. the duck had been cooked without moving at all until removed, when as stated the legs fell apart. I spooned the clear fat out into the crock straining it as I went, over the duck. The next morning I saw a couple of cups or more of juices under the fat. I am thinking that the broken legs gave out these juices. But I am still puzzled.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Interesting -- I've never had this problem in 20 years of confit making, including last weekend.

                    If the legs fell apart just by removing them to the crock, I'd say they were certainly overdone -- you should be able to easily remove the meat from the bones, but they should hold together. Were the bones actually broken as well? It also sounds like the temp may have been too high, but you say you followed the requirements -- what sort of thermometer did you use? A digital instant read meat thermo is very helpful in this process. You also need to move it around from time to time so you're keeping an eye on the whole pot, not just one spot where it can touch one of the duck pieces and read too low.

                    As to clarifying the fat, i recall that the recipe is a little vague on this. If you try to clarify it by boiling in the original cooking pot (with the liquid at the bottom) you won't get anywhere -- the liquid just emulsifies into the fat. You need to let the fat settle for a few minutes, then ladle from the top into a clean pot, being careful not to disturb the liquid at the bottom. Boil at 230 or so for 5 minutes to boil off any dissolved liquid and let cool a bit, then ladle over your duck in the crock. If the duck is as done as you say, all but a spoonful of juice should be left in the original cooking pot.

                    Don't bother with the lard -- not necessary and ruins the fat for future use.

                    Good luck. I'm likely going to do another batch this weekend.

                    1. re: rjbh20

                      I used a very accurate candy themometer to measure the fat temp which would not come into direct contact with anything other than the fat.. I did cook it somewhat longer - took a very long time to get up to temp since I was being very scrupulous about following the directions and of course allowing it to cool down in the same pan extended the time. The meat on the legs was very tender and falling off the bone to some degree so althou the legs went into the crock intact there was a lot of internal flesh exposed which could have contributed to juice formation . I had removed a great deal of the fat for rendering, since I had a shortage, so this may have contributed to the falling off the bone situation. As I said I followed the directions precisely. I am just wondering if anyone else puts their confit in glass and so can observe what it looks like afterwards.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I don't use glass (ceramic crock instead) but when i melt the fat to remove pieces of confit, I have clear fat all the way to the bottom other than a spoonful of liquid (salarque).

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          I also used a candy thermometer and watched it like a hawk: it took two hours rather than one hour to come up to 190 degrees or so. My duck legs were close to falling apart (but did not do so) by the time I was done with the initial cooking. Now I'm wondering if tons of juice are lurking below in my porcelain container. I'd melt it to see, but it's now got pork lard all over the top, too. I'll have a look in a few weeks and hope for the best...

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            While I let the temp rise relatively gently, I quit with the ultra slow (1 - 2 hours!) business years ago. Never could see, feel or taste any difference in the output, there's no intuitive reason to do it, and the cooking takes long enough as it is. I'd guess i take 15 - 20 minutes tops to get up to 190.

                            I do think that keeping the temp below the boiling point is important.

          2. Chicken with Red Onion Sauce, TCSWF, p. 140

            Easy, great dish for a cold, rainy night. Brown a quartered chicken in duck fat, then add 1/2 c slivered ham, cook briefly, then add 2 lbs coarsely chopped red onion. Cook until onion softens, then add 1/2 c dry white wine and simmer until done. Run chicken under broiler to crisp skin, boil sauce to thicken, garnish with chopped parsley & chives.

            I used skinned legs/thighs, so I skipped the broiling step, and I also forgot to garnish, which was too bad because it would have added a nice touch of green. I used a chunk of regular ham instead of the more appropriate jambon de Bayonne/prosciutto/Serrano ham, but it was still quite tasty.

            There were a couple of odd bits of timing in this recipe. She calls for adding the 2 lbs of chopped onion and cooking over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft but not brown. But in 5 minutes on low, those onions had hardly begun to warm up, much less soften! I raised the heat up to medium and gave them another 10 minutes, which got some results.

            Then after adding the wine and bringing to a boil, she calls for cooking the chicken just 20 minutes more. Maybe I just like my chicken more done than that, but I doubled that time to 40 minutes. (Fairly safe since I was using legs, not breasts.)

            Still, bottom line was that it was pretty easy to put together and very tasty. I served it over her oven-baked polenta for a great combo.

            1. Saute of Chicken with Peppers, Ham and Tomatoes (Poulet a la Basquaise). P. 15 TCOSWF

              Lightly floured and seasoned chicken legs are cooked in duck fat and ventreche for 5 minutes per side until browned, then set aside. Chopped onion is then browned, and then add chopped red bell peppers, sliced garlic, diced Bayonne, tomatoes (I used Pomi), pinch of sugar and piment d’espelette and cook for 15 minutes. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes on low and 10 minutes off heat. The sauce is set aside and the chicken is cooked in a tablespoon or two of sauce to glaze. The glazing is a nice touch and adds a concentrated taste of the sauce on the chicken. We liked this dish. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice dish. The chicken was very moist and succulent. I would make this again and omit the ventreche and Bayonne – I didn’t feel that they added enough to the dish to warrant keeping them.

              5 Replies
              1. re: BigSal

                Wow, BigSal, which edition were you cooking from? Mine was published in 1988. In my copy the recipe is on p. 174 and the chicken pieces (not just legs) are sauteed in olive oil. Bayonne, prosciutto or Westphalian ham is called for.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  It is on p. 158. Sorry about that. It is the 2005 edition. Definitely chicken legs. Olive oil is an alternative to sauteeing in duck fat and prosciutto or jamon serrano are alternatives to Bayonne.

                  1. re: BigSal

                    Ventreche is more like pancetta than prosciutto, IMO. I've been looking at that recipe and might try it this weekend. I'll use prosciutto for the Bayonne...

                    1. re: Gio

                      Yes, pancetta is suggested as an alternative to ventreche. I procured some some ventreche for the cassoulet and other recipes. Pancetta will work fine. I think the prosciutto might even be tastier than the Bayonne (saltier and deeper flavored).

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Thanks Sal...! Then it's on the menu for the week-end.

              2. Chicken w/Red Onion Sauce, TCSWF, p. 168

                I made this tonight, half recipe. I used four thighs, well S'd &P'd, and browned them for 3 min/per side In 1 T. duck fat (no goose fat on hand--quelle horreur!--but I try to keep some duck fat in the freezer). I added just over an ounce of diced prosciutto and covered the skillet for a few minutes. I then added the roughly chopped red onion (1 lb), covered the skillet again, and cooked for another 10 minutes until the onions were soft (as another poster has noted, 5 minutes was just not enough time). Since we really wanted to drink the white wine on hand, I added a generous 1/4 cup of dry vermouth to the skillet, brought it all to a boil, then covered the skillet again, and lowered the heat, cooking thighs another 25 minutes, turning once. I pulled the thighs out and put them into an ovenproof dish, which I put under the broiler for the last 5-6 minutes before serving. In the meantime, I boiled down the onion mixture. When the thighs were nicely crisped, I spooned the sauce over them, and sprinkled it all with fresh parsley (which helped appearances a lot, as I really didn't find the pinkish-grey color of the sauce very appetizing, an issue always w/cooked red onions).

                Color notwithstanding, we loved the dish. I was surprised by how much. The flavor combination of these relatively few ingredients is really delicious. I'll definitely make this again. I served it w/mashed potatoes, which was perfect--but this would be fine with some good bread. We also had a simple salad of butter lettuce, garlic croutons, and vinaigrettte, and some roasted brussels sprouts. But I can imagine any number of sides working well with this.

                This is a pretty easy, pretty quickly prepared dish that tastes like it's a lot more work than it is. I think a bunch of fresh thyme added to the onion sauce would be good, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Like Karen_Schaffer and nomadchowwoman, we enjoyed this dish. I used 2 t of duck fat and could have gotten away with even a little less. I also used prosciutto instead of Bayonne even though I had Bayonne (I didn't think it added much in the my Poulet a la Basquaise dish. It could be the quality of the Bayonne I have, but I will use prosciutto every time). I think nomadchowwoman's suggestion about adding thyme would be delicious. Would make this again.

                2. Chicken Thighs with Pineau de Charentes (half recipe) p. 155 TCOSWF

                  Mushroom lovers should take note of this recipe. Despite some errors in my execution, this turned out wonderfully. Chicken thighs are browned in butter (I only used 1 T which was plenty), fat is removed and Pineau (can substitute Cognac or Armagnac and semisweet white wine) is added. The Pineau is then ignited. The flames do get VERY high. Add shallots and cook 1 minute. Turn chicken over, cover and cook 25 minutes. I went to check on the chicken after 20 minutes and to my horror, all of the Pineau was blackened in the bottom of the pan. I guess my heat was not “moderate” enough. Fortunately, the chicken was fine (and cooked), but I was unable to glaze it in the sauce. The chicken is then set aside. Cook cremini and reconstituted cepes for 5 minutes, add soaking liquid until reduced to a glaze and add cream. I only added 2T cream instead of 4T and it was a little dry, but the flavor was there. Return chicken to the pan to slowly reheat. In spite of some of my missteps, the dish was deeply flavored with mushroom and the skin was deliciously crispy. I would make this again without question.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: BigSal

                    Thanks for the review -- I've been considering making that one. Did you actually use Pineau or did you sub?

                    1. re: BigSal

                      This is one that must have been added to the newer editions - isn't in my book which is a shame.

                      1. re: greedygirl


                        Here's the recipe from Chow. http://www.chow.com/recipes/12349-chi... I noticed that a number of the recipes from TCOSWF are listed. Hope you like it as much as we did.

                      2. re: BigSal

                        Oh my this one has *several* things to recommend it -- wish I could try it today! It's not in my book either, I'm very glad to have it.
                        And I'll need Cognac for another (beef steak with peppercorns & golden raisins) recipe of hers, that will work out nicely.

                        1. re: BigSal

                          That one's not in my book either; thanks for the link. The recipe looks quite doable. I'm thinking I could use a riesling for the "semisweet" wine mixed w/cognac. Thoughts?

                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                            I am no wine expert (so I will defer to those that are), but my first thought is I think it would work.

                            1. re: BigSal

                              I think it would need to have some residual sugar, not just be implicitly sweet like some rieslings are. but I guess a bit of sugar could be added, too.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                I'm no wine expert, but I've never heard "semi-sweet" applied to wine, so I'm not sure what I should look for.
                                Then again, how bad could it be?

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Im no expert either but I think she is talking about a wine with some sweetness/residual sugar (maybe like vouvray , moscato d'asti or an auslese riesling) but not syrupy sweet like sauternes. Not saying the dry riesling wouldnt be tasty just trying to interpret what she wants which is a combo that replicates the characteristics of the pineau http://blog.cognac-expert.com/pineau-...

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    Vouvray--yes, that sounds like what I might think of as semi-sweet, now that you mention it. Thanks. (I obviously have no sense of what a Pineau de Charentes is!)

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      White Lillet would probably work too, I'd think. Pineau de Charentes is wonderful - fairly sweet. I always think of it as a apperitif (sp?) or dessert wine (as in taking the place of the dessert for me!).

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Thanks--now I'm getting a better idea. I do know what White Lillet is. This dish is calling out to me.

                        2. Chicken Breasts with Garlic Wine (half recipe) p. 149 TCOSWF

                          This comes together quickly provided that you make the garlic wine in advance. Flatten chicken breasts halves with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and cook in clarified butter (1T) and olive oil (1/2T) until lightly browned and cooked through. This took about 5 minute for one and 7 for the larger chicken breast. Set aside and keep warm under foil. Add tarragon to the skillet, deglaze with garlic wine and water, then add cream (I used 2T) until thick enough to coat a spoon. We liked this, but prefer other recipes to this one. http://www.chow.com/recipes/12346-chi...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: BigSal

                            I also seem to have the old version of COSWF. I made the Ragout of Chicken Wings in the Style of the Bearn, p. 186 of the old edition. This would be just as good with thighs or even thighs and browned breasts tossed in near the end so they don't get tough.

                            12 chicken wings (I removed the tips and cut the wings at the joint) - I also used several thighs
                            Salt and pepper
                            1/3 cup rendered chicken fat - I used olive oil.
                            1 cup roughly chopped onions
                            About 1/4 cup of ham - Bayonne, prosciutto or Westphalian - I used prosciutto
                            1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
                            3/4 cup tomatoes (I used Romanitas - large cherry-type tomatoes and just halved them)
                            2 large garlic cloves
                            1 dried hot red pepper or several drops of pepper sauce
                            pinch of ground cloves
                            pinch of grated nutmeg
                            1 1-1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
                            2 bunches scallions with about an inch of the green part left on
                            3 large carrots, cut into chunks
                            She calls for a tablespoon of chopped parsley to be added at the end but I didn't.

                            You brown the wings in rendered fat (I used olive oil since I had no rendered fat), seasoning them with salt and pepper. I also added several thighs because I had them and was making this for 6 people. You add a chopped onion and cook until lightly browned. Add ham (I used prosciutto). Remove excess fat from the pan.

                            Chicken stock is added and brought to a boil. Heat is reduced and stock simmered for 5 minutes. The tomatoes, garlic, hot red pepper or pepper sauce and a pinch each of ground cloves and nutmeg. A stick (about 1-1/1") cinnamon is added and the pot is covered and ragout simmered for one hour.

                            She calls for blanching 2 bunches of scallions with a small part of the green left on. She drains, rinses in cold water to stop them from cooking and rolls them in a kitchen towel to squeeze out excess moisture. She leaves the scallions whole, but I chopped them into approx. 1/2 inch pieces.

                            The scallions and carrots are added to the casserole and the whole thing is simmered for about an hour.

                            When it's done, take out the chicken and carrots and reduce the sauce to about 2 and a half cups. Remove cinnamon stick, pour the sauce over the wings and carrots and serve.

                            This was wolfed down by 6 of us at a birthday dinner last night. Delicious comfort food.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Sounds delicious. But, what's the point of blanching the scallions if they are going to be in the pot for an hour?

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                I never blanch the scallions. Don't tell Paula, okay?

                              2. re: oakjoan

                                I made this last night with the addition of thighs with the veggies added late. I thought of it as a comfort dish. On first reading of the ingredients I was reminded of the Cradle of Flavor braised Tuna that many of the CH cooks had great success with, so I finished the ragu with a hit of lemon for the seconds. A try that didn't yield much.

                            2. Duck Legs Confit Cooked in a Pouch p. 198 TCOSWF

                              We made duck confit for the cassoulet. Moulard duck legs are seasoned with salt and thyme leaves, wrap in paper towels and refrigerate 24 hours. Pat dry and sealed in our FoodSaver. The legs came in a pack of 6, but only 4 would fit in our Sous Vide Supreme machine (one could do this in simmering water on the stovetop). Cook at 180F for 8 hours. The other two legs were cooked in a slow cooker, covered in duck fat for 4 hours. I have attached a picture of the duck confit after cooking and refrigeration. One can see how much fat is rendered from the cooking process alone without any additional fat added. I also attached a picture of the confit after crisping in the oven (I could have crisped it up a little further). We were not able to discern a big difference between the two methods (although Wolfert does mention that aging the duck confit lends a deeper huskier flavor). If I were to make it again, I would opt for the sous vide method because of the ease and lack of mess. Delicious results (I had to sneak a taste and not leave it all for the cassoulet)!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: BigSal

                                Am I undertsanding this correctly--the first photo is of duck with no added fat? So you were able to confit in just the duck's own fat?
                                They're beautiful.

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Yes, no added fat. Still not diet food, but easier to make and less messy.

                                2. re: BigSal

                                  Ah you have a sous vide machine! Have you used it for many things yet? It's interesting that you couldn't tell the difference with the duck, but are there things you've tried that *are* markedly different?
                                  I've been enjoying your posts--so many!

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    We are really just beginning to explore sous vide cooking.

                                    I have had a bit of a cooking bug lately. I have also been planning meals better (thinking ahead). I have really enjoyed TCOSWF and Around My French Table. I love having this forum to share and learn.

                                3. Roast Chicken Stuffed with Garlic Croutons in the Style of the Correze
                                  The Cooking of Southwest France

                                  OMG was this delicious...! A bit twiddly fussy because the chicken has to be turned in 4 different directions during the cooking...and there are a couple of veggie fiddlings that have to be made...but the finished dish was worth it. For a minute I thouight G was going to throw in the towel but he stuck with it and we eventually had a marvelous dinner. Here are the details:

                                  1 whole roasting chicken, 5 to 5½ pounds (we had a chicken a little over 4 lbs.
                                  )S & FGBP
                                  2 T French walnut oil (used EVOO)
                                  1½ t finely chopped fresh garlic
                                  ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
                                  6 slices of country-style bread, cut ½ inch thick, crusts trimmed (brushed with the garlic and herb leaves then stuffed into the chicken cavity)
                                  3 thin slices of fatty pancetta (placed on the breast and tied in place)
                                  2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
                                  1 med onion, chpd
                                  1 lg carrot, chpd
                                  ½ leek (white and tender green), thinly sliced (used 6 thin scallions)

                                  In spite of the adjustments I had to make the finished dish was absolutely wonderful. The garlic croutons are so flavorful, having been infused with the chicken juices during the cooking. I think I'm going to use them in the turkey in a few weeks. The entire recipe is in the Chow recipe section as noted in the link I cited. Read it and weep - or cook this dish and swoon.

                                  The two side dishes were braised escarole and caulifower with parmigiano from James Beard's American Cookery.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Wow! This sounds fantastic, especially with braised escarole. I swoon for bitter greens.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Another recipe that's not in my edition - I have the feeling I might like the new one a whole lot better.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        OJ: It was fabtastic! At the end a sauce is made with the cooked onions/carrots/leeks, Definitely a make again dish. G is still raving about it.

                                        GG: I'm caving and buying this book. Gotta have it!

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          gg: I have the old edition and the recipe for the chicken with garlic croutons is on p. 164. My edition is in paperback from the 80s. Maybe yours is some twilight zone edition. I'll be glad to send you the recipe if you are interested.

                                        2. re: Gio

                                          The whole meal sounds great! What was the texture of the stuffed bread after it was done? I like the idea of garlic and thyme infused bread.

                                          P.S. This is the 2nd reference to James Beard's American Cookery in a few weeks. What can you tell us about the book? Is it a keeper?

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            This does sound really delicious. Can I ask a practical question since this recipe calls for turning the bird several times, does anyone have a foolproof technique for flipping the bird without damaging the skin? I've never been able to perfect that...


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Sal: The bread cubes were soft and ...i guess I can say mushy...but not in a bad way. It was as if one had simply soaked a piece of bread in a savory gravy.

                                              The James Beard book is a compendium of American recipes some of which he created and some given to him by various home and professional cooks, from what I can see. So far I'm using it for vegetable dishes and will probably work my way up to poultry and meats, eventually. The cauliflower with parm was really delicious, not unlike a gratin but made stovetop with no cream. Yes, it's a keeper... although I haven't read the whole book.. yet.

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                TDQ: To turn the chicken in the roasting pan DH inserts a long-handled fork through the rear cavity to lift and a large slotted spoon whose spoon part is slightly flatter than the regular slotted spoons to brace against a side. He's never torn chicken skin so far.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Hmmm...maybe I just need to be more patient!


                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    I have some of those big silicon gloves that a kind relative gave me after watching me turn my turkey around in a high heat oven for year after year. You can put your hands down into boiling water with these, and it would be dead simple to just pick up your little chicken and flip it. without touching the skin with a sharp implement.

                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                      That is such a great idea for a clumsy person like me!


                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                        Are the gloves slippery? I'm envisioning a sizzling hen skidding across my countertop!

                                                2. Chicken Thighs with Pineau de Charentes, TCOSWF (not in my ed.; recipe is on CH)

                                                  Since the recipe is on CH and Big Sal has previously reported, I'll keep this brief. I subbed riesling mixed w/cognac for the Pineau de Charentes, and that worked very well. For the fresh mushrooms, I used half cremini and, since I had some frozen, half porcini. (I dried the thawed porcinis out a bit in a low oven first, which made for better sauteing). Otherwise, except for having no chives, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I served it w/Wolfert's Potatoes in the Style of Quercy and a very simple arugula salad.

                                                  Big Sal is right: anyone wild about mushrooms should love this; it is absolutely delicious. I would definitely make it again.

                                                  Thanks for the link to this one, Big Sal.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                    I'm so glad to hear you liked the dish. The potatoes sound like a great addition.

                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      just to mention, since I havent made the recipe yet, that I found Pineau de Charentes in BOTH of the two wine stores in Brooklyn I checked this weekend - including one where the salesman is cooking along with this COTM! Its good stuff, well worth buying so dont think you will have to sub.

                                                    2. I prepared my duck confit about November 5 or so and it's been in the fridge since then. I wonder how long it has to sit before I can have any benefit from the aging part of the process? (I understand that it's perfectly tasty even without aging, but I'd just as soon make sure to get some aging effect after all this work...)

                                                      1. Chicken Breasts w/ Pine nuts, cepes and Ham Goudaliere (half recipe) p. 147 TCOSWF
                                                        Another delicious, mushroomy chicken dish. Season chicken breasts on the bone and cook in butter (I used 1 T) until skin begins to turn golden, remove excess fat, add shallots, lemon juice and vermouth. Cook until reduced to a glaze. Then add demi-glace (I used a veal demi-glace from William Sonoma and added water), cover and roast at 300F for 20 minutes. Bone the chicken and slice.
                                                        In the meantime, sauté quartered mushrooms and reconstituted cepe in duck fat (I used ½ T), then add reserved soaking liquid and cook until reduced to glaze, then add garlic and parsley and set aside. Cook Bayonne ham cubes (I used prosciutto) on low for 2 minutes, add mushroom mixture and set aside.
                                                        Add remaining demi-glace to poaching liquid, reduce by half, swirl in butter to thicken, then add cognac and season to taste. I skipped adding the butter, as my demi-glace was quite rich. Serve chicken with strained sauce and mushroom mixture and top with toasted pine nuts. The chicken was tender and moist. We really liked the mushroom mixture (it was so good I was snacking on it while I was waiting for the chicken to finish). The sauce was wonderfully rich – even without the addition of butter.
                                                        I would make this again with a couple little changes. The next time I would try this with boneless, skinless chicken breast. It would be easier and quicker to make (and the chicken skin was rubbery and I just picked it off anyway). I’ll just need to keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                          Ooh cognac and mushrooms again. I get the feeling you and your husband never sit down to anything less than terrific.

                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                            Most days my husband would prefer to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cereal for dinner, but he indulges me.

                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                              Sometimes I can't decide whether we're lucky to have such willing husbands, or whether they're lucky to have us. Mostly I think the latter! And you've done some wonderful sounding, really serious cooking this month.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                My husband could live on fruits and nuts and alcohol (or not) but he is really appreciative when I put something extra tasty in front of him - like the dishes from this month. thanks for the great report and more power to you!

                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                  Haha new meme "My husband could live on (fill in the blank)"

                                                                  With my SO it's mashed potatoes. And boy, do I get tired of making mashed potatoes.

                                                        2. I am so impressed and envious at all of the wonderful Wolfert cooking a brave few have been doing. I had the best of intentions. I have many post-its on many recipes, but it just hasn't been the right timing for me. A semi-emergency and just regular life chaos have knocked me off my cooking game. But I have been reading every single post and am, again, just so impressed.

                                                          Go Wolfert hounds!


                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Tonight I made the Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant-Tomato Jam (p. 161 of the 1988 Edition.

                                                            I've made this before, but I had 2 eggplants I found in the bargain bin at Berkeley Bowl, so....

                                                            I made MANY shortcut changes because I got a late start. She says to salt and drain and then slice the eggplants, but I cubed them. I didn't have the time to let them drain because I got a late start. You then fry them in olive oil to brown them and then drain. She says to crush the eggplant and a clove of garlic and cilantro and parsley with a potato masher. I just chopped them up finely and added to the eggplant cubes.

                                                            Next you fry 2 large tomatoes (I used 3 canned Italian tomatoes because tomatoes are less than stellar these days).in olive oil until most of the moisture evaporates. The eggplant is then added to the tomatoes and they're cooked over low heat until most of the moisture evaporates. You then take the tomato mixture off heat and add lemon juice and cider vinegar

                                                            She then calls for you to make a sort of watery mayo of crushed garlic, salt, grated ginger, saffron (I didn't use it as I can't stand the taste of saffron) and black pepper mixed with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 cup hot water added gradually. The chicken is coated with this "mayo". I used boneless thighs and a couple of half breasts because I was running late.

                                                            The chicken is cooked in a casserole dish (I used an old Descoware pot) to brown it a bit and then the eggplant mixtrue and a grated onion are added and the whole dish is cooked. She calls for it to be cooked for about an hour. I didn't cook it that long as my chicken pieces were smaller and I didn't want the breasts to dry out too much.

                                                            Although I skipped some steps, this was quite delicious. I've made it a couple of times before and have followed the recipe closely. This was just as good. My husband ate every last bit of it, scraping the sauce out of the pan with some french bread. He kept saying "Wow! This is great!" "Ooooh, this is so delicious."

                                                            This is a sort of addlepated description of the recipe, but I'm pretty bleary due to Thanksgiving prep...even though I don't have to make the turkey or stuffing or most of the rest of the dinner. I'm just in charge of 2 desserts and a dish my mother used to make with cucumbers and onions marinated in sour cream. Lucky me!

                                                          2. Has anyone ever made the "Slow-Cooked Duck Legs in Red Wine (Salmis de Cuisses de Canard) in TCSWF? She has you cook the legs for relatively short periods (about 1 1/2 hrs) on three consecutive days, cooling and defatting in between. I'm quite intrigued, but wondering if the time investment would really be worth it. (I suppose, if necessary, I could hold it an extra day in between days one and two or two and three.)