David's Recipe for Confit de Canard

Based on the traditional recipes for confit de canard, but with olive oil added for those who don't have access to vast quantities of duck fat and can't use lard for religious reasons.

Ingredient or Main Course, French

  • 1 duck
  • 4 freshly ground allspice berries
  • 2 soup spoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 soup spoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1 quart extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and with the 2 ends removed, but otherwise whole
  • 7 sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Cut into small pieces by first cutting off the thighs and separating the drumsticks from them, cutting off the wings, cutting off the tail end of the spine, cutting off the fat around the neck-end opening, and cutting off the two sides of the ribcage.
    The breast is now what's left of the main part of the body. The slabs of breast meat are pretty enough to deserve to be fried or grilled and served as-is. If that's what you want to do, cut the in half along the center, separate the thick breast meat from the underlying bones, and set aside for another dish. If you want to use the breast in the confit, don't separate the meat from the bones. Add the two sets of bones from the breast or the two halves of the breast to the remaining pieces of duck.
    You now have 12 pieces of duck, excluding the reserved breast meat.
  2. Mix together the allspice, salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
  3. Rub the spice mixture well into all surfaces of the meat and bones. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  4. Wash the meat thoroughly to remove almost all of the unabsorbed salt and spices. Pat dry thoroughly.
  5. Heat the oil over a very low flame.
  6. Make a pretty bouquet out of the thyme by using 2 of the sprigs as strings to tie the other 5.
  7. Add the onion, thyme, and duck to the oil. As you add the duck, adjust the flame so that the oil barely ripples and bubbles slightly.
  8. Allow the duck to simmer slowly in the oil for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the duck and how much time you have, checking the heat every once in a while and turning the duck so that the pieces are evenly cooked.
  9. The duck pieces can be used as an ingredient in cassoulet or any other dish calling for confit de canard, or can be sauted in their own absorbed oil over a medium heat until brown and crisp and served as a main dish.

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