This year, hundreds of you have headed into our demonstration kitchen to learn all kinds of skills and cuisines in our cooking classes. Whether you’re an aspiring chef or that person who everyone calls for advice because you’re practically a pro, you all have made 2017 a great culinary year at Hill Center.
To say thank you, we’re giving you 12 Days of Cooking Christmas! Each day we’ll feature one of the recipes from a class we had this year. To kick things off, we’re sharing Chef Mark Haskell’s recipe for Duck Confit from The Whole Beast: Duck Boot Camp.
Once esteemed as a preservation method, cooking and storing duck in its rendered fat results in meltingly tender, moist and extremely flavorful meat which can be used in a variety of simple preparations. Sear the duck legs in a hot skillet or shred the meat and add it to salads, or, perhaps best of all, make duck rillettes. Just remember the duck must be salted a day before you plan to cook it.
3 tablespoons salt
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
6 sprigs thyme
Coarsely ground black pepper
4 duck legs with thighs
4 duck wings, trimmed
About 4 cups duck fat
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the duck pieces in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots, and thyme in the container. Arrange the duck, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots, and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck. Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Pour the melted fat over the duck (the duck pieces should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer – just an occasional bubble – until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, about 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
At this point, the duck legs can be seared and served, shredded and added to soups or salads, or be used to make an ultra rich duck rillettes.
Note: The duck fat should be strained, cooled and reused.
Check out the cooking classes are on the calendar for 2018. More classes are added all the time.