So many duck legs, so many possibilities… I had a dozen legs left following the completion of another duck-related project, it’s been cold outside, and I had a craving for more confit. What I didn’t have was a lot of duck fat or room to store a huge container of confited duck legs, so I searched for a different preparation method, which I found in Modernist Cuisine.
I began with the curing method from the Bouchon cookbook: “green salt” made from kosher salt, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, and black peppercorns.
After a day in the fridge, I rinsed and dried the legs, placed three each in vacuum bags, added about a quarter cup of duck fat (dished out with an ice cream scoop), then sealed them shut.
I cooked the legs in a 82°C water bath for eight hours.
When the legs were cooked I dunked them in an ice bath to cool them down for storage. The fat and cooking liquid solidified, making the bags very easy to handle.
The beauty of this method is how little fat is required to cook or store the duck. The bags lie flat, which makes them easy to fit in an overcrowded fridge (and the Deep Storage Facility is bursting with in-progress holiday cooking projects).
I was eager to make something with part of my new confit stash. I warmed up one of the bags by dunking it in 80°C water for twenty minutes. I cut a hole in the corner of the bag and drained the liquid into a gravy seprator, then let the legs cool slightly so I could remove the skin.
The skin slid right off the warmed legs, and the bones slid out easily. All I had to do was shred the meat and add the rendered fat and cooking liquid, which measured out to about a quarter cup each. I gave everything a quick spin in my stand mixer, adding some extra ground black pepper – instant rillettes.
I portioned out the rillettes into jars and layered the last bit of fat over the tops.
It’s unlikely I’l ever go back to the old confit method. I won’t have to deal with digging portions out of a large container full of fat. I won’t have to worry about storage space, and I won’t have to buy huge buckets of duck fat. Well, not nearly as often; there’s still duck fat fries, duck fat focaccia, and other goodies that will require me to maintain a supply.