Beat (and eat) the Ducks!


Photo by Allan L. Courtney

I know this will only strike a loud, melodious chord with 3 types of people — people who love duck confit, people who love Stanford football and people who hate the Oregon ducks.

I have nothing against Oregonians, but I do love Stanford football. And duck confit is one of my favorite dishes to cook/eat. Sometimes I shred it up and top a salad with it so I don’t have to feel so guilty as I enjoy the decadence. As I shred my duck confit this game day, you can bet your butt I’ll be doing it in the face of my Oregon fan friends.

I want to turn my game day into a “football foodieball” as I watch the Cardinal go head-to-head with the University of Oregon Ducks.

Needless to say, I intend to eat duck from beginning to end. Perhaps we will start with toast rounds topped with duck foie gras, then move on to some smoked duck breast with a grainy french mustard… and then the main event: easy duck confit.

The idea of making duck confit is daunting to most everyone. If you don’t like spending more than 30 minutes cooking/prepping for your meal, you may as well stop reading now. But I love to cook, while working smarter, not harder.

Anyway, duck confit can take days and days to make. My recipe takes some prep the day before and then some lazy cook time the day of (meaning all you have to really do is minimal assembling and a lot of waiting).

This recipe is one I’ve adapted from my beautiful chef friend Jacqueline Lombard who currently works at Lavo and you may remember from Top Chef Season 7.

4 Duck Legs (with thighs)
4 tbsp Kosher Salt
3 tbsp Ground Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 tbsp Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Pimenton or Smoked Paprika
6 sprigs of Thyme, chopped
2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp Coriander
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
4 cups of Duck Fat

Combine all the herbs, spices and garlic in a bowl. Take your fresh duck legs and cover them with the rub, generously. Let your duck cure for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
The next day, wash the legs thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 250F.
Melt enough duck fat to cover duck legs (4 cups is a generous estimate). Arrange the legs in a flat dish (a pyrex baking dish or a lasagna pan will do). Make sure the duck legs are as flat as possible so you can cover them with the fat. Don’t pile the legs atop one another.
Add more herbs and spices, if desired.
Cover the legs with duck fat and place in the oven. Cook for 6-8 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
Remove from oven and allow legs to cool in the fat for one hour before removing.
Strain the fat and you can save it for use later.

Go Cardinal! And don’t just beat the ducks… EAT the ducks.