Quack Pot

IMG_3659

Throughout the ages, many cultures have adapted and created their own forms of food preservation. For instance:

  • Filipinos use vinegar and salt (or soy) to preserve various meats in an Adobo.
  • The French use fat and salt to preserve various meats in a Confit.
  • The Galactic Empire used Carbonite to freeze various smugglers in suspended animation.

Although Darth Vader did not use carbonite in a culinary fashion, per se, I can only imagine how long a side of beef would last if frozen a la Han Solo. And since freezing things in carbonite does quite a number on my energy bill, I decided that it would be a more worthwhile, and tasty, endeavor to research the wonders of confit in conjunction with what I already know about Adobo.

Ah yes, an adobo/confit experiment! A fusion of Filipino and French food to yield a quacktastic pot of Duck Adobo Confit.

Because I’ve covered Filipino Adobos just a bit in this blog (click here for my Adobo Recipes), I’m going to concentrate more on the Confit part of things for now. As such, I relied heavily on Michael Ruhlman’s and Brian Polcyn’s ode to preserved meats: Charcuterie (a book I also relied heavily upon to make my own Longanisa).

According to Charcuterie:

“The literal translation of the word confit is ‘preserved’. When the word is applied to a type of meat, it means poached in fat and, strictly speaking, stored within that fat until it’s ready to heat and serve.”

Meat poached and stored in its own fat? That’s like awesomeness sprinkled with rad and then wrapped in bad-ass! And who can resist bad-ass on its own, let alone with rad-dusted awesomeness hidden inside? I don’t know about you, but I surely cannot!

As it were, I decided to use duck for my first foray into confit-making because I knew I could easily use my usual chicken adobo marinade for duck, and also because duck fat is readily available in my neck of the woods–I bought a few small tubs of rendered duck fat at a Whole Foods market:

IMG_3611

Yup, that is a tub o’ duck fat and nothing but duck fat. I actually needed about 6 cups of duck fat to make my Duck Adobo Confit. I know that seems like an awful lot of fat, but relax Slim, it’s not like you’re going to actually gulp down all of it. The fat just serves as a medium for slowly poaching the duck. And I know that that also seems like a lot of fat to spend your hard-earned cash on, but relax Moneybags, it’s not like you’re going to just discard all that fat once you’re done making your first confit. There are plenty more applications for this duck fat down the road (like making more confit!)–but I’ll get to those other uses later.

In a traditional duck confit, duck legs are usually cured for a couple days in salt and spices, rinsed off in cold water, and then covered in fat and poached low and slow in the oven for many hours. After the low and slow poach, the duck legs and fat are cooled and left alone until ready to heat and serve weeks later. The duck legs are preserved not only by the salt, but because they are covered in solidified fat they are shielded from any germs, bacteria, and cooties that may be floating in the air. Pretty neat, no?

For my Duck Adobo Confit, I more or less stuck to the traditional procedure but instead of curing the duck legs in salt, I let them sit in an Adobo marinade of vinegar, soy, black peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf for 24-hours. Not overnight, mind you, but for 24-hours. My thinking here was that the vinegar and soy would have similar preservative effects on the duck legs as salt normally would.

After a 24-hour soak in the marinade, I rinsed the duck legs off in cold water, patted them dry, and then put them in a dutch oven and submerged them in duck fat. I put the pot of duck legs and duck fat in a very low oven and let the legs poach in the fat for 8 hours.

6a00d8341bfcac53ef00e5529ad5b18833-500wi

After poaching for 8 hours, not only are the duck legs meltingly tender, but there will also be a layer of duck juices and collagen beneath the fat–something Ruhlman refers to as “confit jelly.” If you’ve ever made your own chicken stock (if you haven’t you should) you know that the water in which you cook the chicken bones can become quite gelatinous from the collagen that leaches from the bones. But since there is no water in a confit, the duck collagen and juices have nowhere to go but to settle at the bottom of the pot beneath the fat. DO NOT throw out the fat! DO NOT throw out the confit jelly!

After the pot has come to room temperature, place the duck legs in airtight containers and ladle some of the fat over the duck legs. Pour the rest of the fat and the confit jelly into a fat separator if you have one, then store the confit jelly in a separate container, and put the rest of the fat over the duck legs.

IMG_3649

IMG_3646

Han Solo-d Duck Legs


Must be jelly, cuz jam don’t jiggle like… eh.

After my duck legs were cooled and covered in fat, and my confit jelly was separated, I placed the legs in the refrigerator and the confit jelly in the freezer. Try to separate out as much jelly from fat as possible as the jelly tends to sour (i.e. get funky) over time. Four duck legs yielded about a half to a whole cup of confit jelly for
me. The confit jelly is amazing stuff–super concentrated and super
unctuous adobo-flavored gelatin to be melted down for sauces, or added
to vinaigrettes at a later time.

I let the duck legs “ripen” in the refrigerator for a week, and then took them out of the fat, cripsed the skin up in a hot pan and then finished the legs in a hot oven for a few minutes more.

I then made a quick pan sauce by deglazing the pan with some red wine, adding a few tablespoons of confit jelly, and reducing the liquid down.

The Duck Adobo Confit was superb if I do say so myself. And I do. The texture alone was far greater in comparison to ordinary adobos. The skin was crisp, and the meat was oh so tender and adoboey! It was like a crisp and tender adobo that melted in my mouth! Also, you could do like the French and Belgians do and use some of the leftover, and now faintly adobo-flavored, duck fat to fry some potatoes and serve with the duck confit. But I instead made some garlic-fried rice fried in a bit of duck fat.


Oooh lar lar!

Now, I’m no food scientist, so I can’t really say that an adobo marinade has any more or less preservative powers than salt does in a traditional confit. But I don’t see why not. But after a week in the fridge, two duck legs that were confited in this manner were consumed by my wife and I with no ill effects. And I have 2 more duck legs in the fridge still to further test the preservative powers of Adobo and Confit combined–and with which to make a completely different dish.

What can I do with my last two legs of Duck Adobo Confit and the remaining fat and confit jelly? Well, I could shred the duck legs, fry some croutons in the duck fat, and make a dressing with the confit jelly for a Duck Adobo Confit Caesar Salad. But I’ve done something like that already.

Nah, I’ve got something else in mind. Stay tuned…

Duck Adobo Confit

5 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup vinegar (cane, coconut, or apple cider)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 duck legs
4-6 cups rendered duck fat

Combine the garlic, vinegar, soy, peppercorns and bay leaves and pour into a shallow dish or large zip-top bag. Add the duck legs to the marinade and marinate for at least 24 hours, turning the duck legs over half-way through the marinating.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or as low and as close to 200 degrees as possible. (the higher the temperature, the more stringy and tough the duck meat will become).

Rinse the duck legs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Melt the rendered duck fat in a dutch oven or large heavy pot over low heat on the stove. Place the duck legs into the fat, making sure the duck legs are completely submerged. Raise the heat to medium, and heat the duck legs and fat on the stove just until the fat begins to bubble.

Place the uncovered pot in the oven and let poach for 8-10 hours. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature. Remove duck legs from pot and place duck legs in a separate container. Separate the duck fat from the confit jelly. Pour the duck fat over the duck legs, making sure the duck legs are completely submerged. Place the confit jelly in a covered container and store in the freezer for later use. Place the duck legs in the refrigerator and allow to ripen for a week or more.

To reheat the duck legs, remove container from the refrigerator several hours before cooking so that the solidified fat will soften. If you attempt to remove the duck legs from the solid fat, you will tear the meat. Place about a tablespoon of the duck fat in a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat. Place the duck legs into the saute pan skin side down, and allow to cook for five minutes. Flip the legs over and place the pan in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 more minutes. The skin should be very crisp, and the meat very tender at this point.

IMG_3664

  • Ed June 2, 2008, 10:39 pm

    “That’s like awesomeness sprinkled with rad and then wrapped in bad-ass!”
    That’s an awesome, rad, badass statement – I’m going to have to try to use that in a conversation at some point!

    Reply
  • Ed June 2, 2008, 10:43 pm

    And kudos on the adobo-duck confit. It looks really good.

    Reply
  • Manggy June 3, 2008, 12:52 am

    Whoa. That’s awesome! You are getting quite a reputation as a preserving man, haha :) There are jars of duck confit being sold here, but the only available brand is French and very expensive. I’ve not yet checked if the wet market carries duck fat (that would be FANTASTIC), but there are also cans of French goose fat that costs more than the Bundt pan I just bought. I think buying anything that costs more than hardware is ridiculous.
    I would love to have some of your creation, Marvin– just not everday, heh 😉

    Reply
  • Jude June 3, 2008, 7:31 am

    Awesome idea… Anything drenched in duck fat sounds good to me.

    Reply
  • Fearless Kitchen June 3, 2008, 7:42 am

    This looks great. On first glance it also looks very time consuming, but on reading it in greater detail it doesn’t look THAT bad. It’s something you could do over a soggy weekend or something, and then when the time comes to eat it the dish comes together pretty quickly.

    Reply
  • dp June 3, 2008, 8:02 am

    Those legs look spectacular! I wanted to try serving duck at Thanksgiving or Christmas since I’m not a turkey fan and I think something like this is exactly what I’m looking for. And it’s good to know Whole Foods has duck fat.
    Well done!

    Reply
  • Wandering Chopsticks June 3, 2008, 1:24 pm

    Duck l’orange with kalamansi! I can’t believe that didn’t occur to you. :)
    I’ll take a duck leg as payment for the suggestion. 😉

    Reply
  • ruhlman June 3, 2008, 1:41 pm

    i know very little about filipino adobo techniques, but this has me intrigued. how was the acidity in the duck? acid not usually a part of cures.
    awesome confit post!

    Reply
  • Ed June 3, 2008, 2:18 pm

    First, David Lebovitz comments on your ube-blueberry ice cream, and now you have Michael Ruhlman giving you praise for your adobo confit?!? YOU DA MAN, MARVIN!! :)

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia June 3, 2008, 8:19 pm

    Thanks Ed! It would be very impressive if you could actually work that into everyday conversation;)
    Hi manggy. If you could get your hands on a whole duck, there should be enough fat in it to make a confit. I just used duck legs and bought the fat because that was easiest.
    Thanks Jude! Thanks for visiting my blog. And you are right, duck fat does make everything taste better.
    Hi Fearless Kitchen. This recipe does take a bit of time, but a lot of that time is cook and wait time rather than prep time, so it’s actually fairly easy to do.
    Thanks DP! And yes, Whole foods was a great source in finding both the duck legs and the fat.
    Great idea, WC! I will gladly pay you a duck leg for that one;)
    Wow, thanks for stopping by my blog Michael! I was worried at first that the vinegar would toughen the duck meat, but I didn’t notice any toughness actually. Taste-wise, the acid was still balanced by the soy and other flavorings like a decent adobo should. I’m going to give my two other duck legs a couple more weeks to “ripen” as you say, and then compare to these first two legs. Thanks again for visiting, and I greatly appreciate the compliment.
    Thanks Ed! I’m just glad they didn’t think I was an idiot;)

    Reply
  • Julie June 3, 2008, 10:33 pm

    Your fusion duck confit has my mouth watering. So genius!

    Reply
  • Katrina June 3, 2008, 10:46 pm

    You have outdone yourself with this! I first read this at 3am, after eating way too much junk food, and I still drooled. I’m a huge duck fan — duck confit, duck fat, duck liver…I crave them all. And now you’ve gone and made duck fat sinangag (garlic fried rice), thereby improving on something I already love absolutely! Again I ask, WHY is duck in the Phils. mostly used just for laying eggs for balut??? :-(
    I must say, I am duly impressed by Ruhlman reading and leaving a comment on your post! How’d he know about it — had you e-mailed him some questions before, or does he regularly Google himself? Hahaha!!! 😉

    Reply
  • diva June 4, 2008, 1:01 am

    insane amount of fat but that looks awesome

    Reply
  • Mila June 4, 2008, 4:59 am

    Ah, duck and duckfat! J’adore! I am so looking forward to reading what happens to the remaining legs. I always keep the drippings from the ducks I’ve roasted to cook vegies, especially baked potatoes.

    Reply
  • chiff0nade June 4, 2008, 7:46 am

    The photos look good, but I don’t eat duck. Nasty taste to me.

    Reply
  • oggi June 4, 2008, 8:03 am

    Wow! I’m loving this and will try adobo seasoning next time I make duck confit.

    Reply
  • bagel June 4, 2008, 10:09 am

    Wow. This looks amazing. I’ve been trying out ways to extend the Filipino adobo to other preparations than the traditional tagalog version that I am familiar with. This is really creative.

    Reply
  • m June 4, 2008, 11:14 am

    Leftover duck confit…
    A place a block away from me does some AMAZING sweet duck confit crepes. Pile of shredded duck confit, pile of crepes, pile of sprouts, pile of raw whole herbs (thai basil, mint, cilantro).
    Addictive.

    Reply
  • jane from jersey city June 4, 2008, 3:18 pm

    AMAZING.
    i am filipino and my best friend is french, and i’ve talked of us hypothetically procreating our own breed of “frilipinos”. upon seeing this recipe, however, this is a more practical way for me and my bff to fuse filipino and french, seeing as how we are both female; and thus, the former proposition should be deemed impossible.
    thanks for the amazing insight into filipino dishes with a “french twist”! i’m a big fan of the blog. :). holler.

    Reply
  • dhanggit June 5, 2008, 2:56 am

    i always do duck confit (confit de canard) this idea is so brilliant.the filipino adobo twist will definitely give it a fresher exotic taste!! i love it, i’ll try this to impress my french family hahaha

    Reply
  • Jescel June 5, 2008, 6:12 am

    that is awesome. totally ingenious.. love your post.. and, can you send me some of that adobo confit?? LOL..and thanks for dropping by my blog..

    Reply
  • Julie June 5, 2008, 12:35 pm

    I’ve never cooked duck! I’ve never wanted to as much as I do now, either.
    Make duck lumpia!

    Reply
  • sanya June 5, 2008, 5:42 pm

    This reciepe just had me stunned for a few minutes.
    Now am wondering if it’s possible to ‘reverse engineer ‘ this. we have a can of duck confit here at the house, but the french stuff. Won’t be the same but maybe make an adobo glaze and saute in that? must try.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  • Jen Tan June 5, 2008, 6:06 pm

    FAT IS FLAVOR!!! =D
    Looks awesome Marvin! I have tried great crispy fried duck on a recent trip to Bali….the resto to is called BEBEK BENGIL…which translates to DIRTY DUCK diner! ;P hahha

    Reply
  • manju June 5, 2008, 11:27 pm

    That was incredible — I’m curious about how the vinegar flavor fared with the 2d batch of legs. Did it get stronger? Bravo on this great fusion dish!

    Reply
  • veron June 6, 2008, 6:24 am

    Duck Confit! And adobo-flavored too! Delicious!!!

    Reply
  • White On Rice Couple June 8, 2008, 7:08 pm

    Oohhh, Todd is gonna totally love this when he see’s it. He looooves duck anything, especially confit. He’ll love your hilarious write up too! This is a steller post!

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia June 27, 2008, 1:57 pm

    Thanks Jude!
    Hey there, Katrina! I too am a huge duck fan, especially foie! And I’m not sure how Mr. Ruhlman came across this post, I didn’t email him about it so maybe someone he knows told him about it.
    It is a lot of fat, diva, but trust me it’s worth it.
    Mmmm, roasted veggies in duck fat sounds awesome Mila!
    Thanks chiff.
    Let me know how it goes, oggi.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, bagel.
    Sweet duck confit crepes sounds great. Thanks for visting, m.
    “Frilipinos”? I like the cut of your jib, Jane. Holler back;)
    I hope your french family likes it, dhanggit!
    I’d send you some, Jescel, but I’m afraid the fat would eat through the envelope! :)
    Duck Lumpia. Not a bad idea Julie;) Thanks!
    An adobo glaze on a traditional confit is a great idea, sanya!
    Hi Jen! Dirty Duck Diner sounds like my kinda place;)
    Hello Manju. I actually haven’t even touched the second batch of legs yet. Hopefully they are still OK. I’ll post about it when I eat them.
    Thanks Veron!
    Thanks Dianne!

    Reply
  • Arnold July 3, 2008, 11:25 am

    There’s so much brilliance in this post, man. I’m literally drooling over here.
    I might give this a shot, but throw in a little sous vide action.

    Reply
  • ace July 11, 2008, 12:05 pm

    Thanks for this inspiring post. I love your innovative approach for adobo-duck confit. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

    Reply
  • Pat July 28, 2008, 2:55 pm

    You have outdone yourself, Marvin! Not only an awe-inspiring post but a fabulous recipe too!!

    Reply
  • Patrick August 22, 2008, 2:33 am

    Ohh my. That dish looks so good. I’m going to have to try making that. I’ll post it on my blog and trackback this so you can see if I messed it up.

    Reply
  • MIguel September 3, 2008, 7:53 pm

    Kinda late to post here but just stumbled upon your blog now. I love Duck leg confit and eat it everytime i have the chance – and that duck leg cinfit Adobo looks too good to pass on. I hope I have the patience to try this out some day :)

    Reply
  • Claudia March 20, 2009, 4:36 pm

    Later still, but I’m getting ready to make a duck confit and wondered about the cooking time. I’ve heard 1 hr. & 2 1/2 hrs. and you did 8? All say very low temp. Did you read that 8 hrs. is better? Great post. I’m looking forward to trying this.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: