UPDATE: Check out the new page before reading this.

Well, after a recent failure to cook half-decent rabbit, I was cautious about any chance I’d have to make decent duck. After all, those gamey animals are all pretty blimmin tricky, right?

Wrong. This one was an absolute doddle.

It’s incredibly simple. Take two duck legs, and rub them thoroughly with sea salt. You can buy both these at Moore Wilsons. Once you salt the legs, put them on a flat tray, and pop them in the fridge for 24hours. Easy.

Next, put the oven onto bake at about 190 degrees. Then take the legs out of the fridge, and drop them into a casserole dish. Add some fresh herbs, I used fresh(ish) rosemary froma garden near where I live. Add a couple of gloves of garlic, some pepper, and a couple of bay leaves.

Then the tricky part. Cover the duck legs and seasoning with melted duck fat. This you can also buy at Moore Wilsons, and you’ll want to melt an entire punnet. Each punnet is 300 and something grams. I didn’t quite have enough to cover the legs, so I melted a little more that I had made myself.

Once the legs are covered with fat, you cover the casserole dish with tin foil and pop them in the over for about a hour, or, until the skin of the legs has pulled away from the “knuckle” at the end of the leg. Then, leave the casserole dish out to cool. When it’s cool enough to pick up, pop it in the fridge for the duck fat to harden.

Done. That’s it. Duck confit. Easy. When you need the legs you can either dig them out of the fat, or just dig the whole kit and kaboodle into a pot and heat gently. The fat falls away from the legs, and can be chucked out.

The tricky part is finding something to eat the legs with. I just cooked the farmer’s platter from a couple of weeks back, and swapped out the duck legs for the pork belly. The duck was tender, delicious, and remarkable.

The final thing to note is that you don’t have to pay $14 for two legs. Occasionally New World sells whole duck at a reasonable price, and if you’re handy with a knife you can separate the drumsticks and thighs from the bird yourself. You can also trim off the breasts, and save all the fat to make your own duck fat. I’m planning on pan-frying the breasts and eating them with a salad or something.

Making duck fat is a little trickier, and a whole lot stinkier. Trim all the excess fat from the duck (and any you don’t want on the legs or breasts, making sure both cuts still have the skin attached for cooking). Clean out any bits of flesh, and separate the skin. Put the duck fat into a pot with a reasonable amount of water, and simmer for a couple of hours. If you tip off the water into a container and chill it in a fridge, the duck fat with separate out, and thereby save you about $5 at Moore Wilsons.

The trick is, making fat this way freaking stinks. So, you’re best to make a duck stock out of the carcass you’ve just created, which will both mask the fat smell, and give some great stock for soups or dishes!

Kids, the moral of the story is. Just because you eat meat, it doesn’t mean you have to be wasteful. Respect the bird and use the entire carcass. Plus, save money!

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