Saturday, March 21, 2009

Comfort Food: Confit de Canard part 1

Every so often I'm reminded of the irony of moving to Hungary after having just bought my copy of Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie and having to leave it behind because of the weight restrictions on baggage. Secretly I was hoping that spending hours scanning the pages with my eyes would have actually scanned them into my brain, but the files are corrupted and I only remember garbled bits and pieces. But I'm not going to allow that to slow down my research in charcuterie, at least not too much.

Thanks to some recent posts by Michael, and his updated recipe which I'm tweaking a bit, I have finally bought a duck leg, kacsa comb (kocha-stomb), and intend to make duck confit. So here's what the procedure is going to look like: I'm going to cover it in a cure of salt and spices such as cloves, garlic, bay leaf, and pepper and put it in the refrigerator for a day or two. After that time I will rinse it off, dry it, and submerge it entirely in fat and cook it for several hours afterwards allowing it to cool off before putting it in the fridge to cure. It's really simple, really.

I think the chosen fat will be Mangalica lard for two simple reasons 1) I want to experiment with it, and 2) I don't have the money for duck fat. As odd as it sounds the extremely luxurious Mangalica lard only costs me a couple of bucks which makes it more affordable than even olive oil, that's just good for me, and the duck. From what I've heard about Mangalica lard is that if it comes from the highest quality pig it will be neutral enough to cook the duck in. I'll find out in a couple of days. Until then I leave you with this picture of the the curing duck's leg. Don't worry though, I'll move it to the refrigerator.


Heath said...

Mangalitsa fat varies in quality depending on things like the exact genetics (e.g. is your pig purebred Mangalitsa or part Duroc), feed and age of the pig.

If you can choose, take the fat that is the hardest and most white.

JonClark said...

Thanks for your input Heath! Although I don't get to choose the breeding line and I'm not sure if I can find it, the lard is branded Mangalica and is from Pick, and my duck is now hibernating in it.

And here's an interesting tid-bit: the lard is 998 HUF/Kg, while goosefat is ~2,247 HUF/Kg.

The quality of the lard was very white, and very hard. All of the comments on hearing how good belly, or szalonna, is still hard at room temperature and not floppy, having to dig the lard out proved its point.

I can't wait to report on the final taste.