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Made - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
After a lively but much less interesting discussion over privacy concerns and the use of social security numbers as unique identifiers in one of our programs,1 I started talking about DIY foodstuff with one of our attorneys. This isn't uncommon for us. Since she found out that I make booze-ahol, she's happily sampled several of my brews and has since begun to grace me with her goat-cheese creations. She has gotten pretty intensely into cheese making. I mean, I'm happy enough thinking about the process and product, but she's gone a step further. She's taken to traveling to the source, and I don't mean heading out to a local dairy. She goes out to a local dairy to milk an animal with her own hands so she knows that the milk is as fresh as it possibly can be.

I confessed that my brewing has fallen off a bit, but that I had been intrigued recently by a recipe in The Food of France that called for pork and pistachio sausages. Operating under the assumption that such a thing will be nigh-on-impossible to find in the States, and knowing at least one other person who's starting to flirt with charcuterie, I'm kind of itching to try to put some together. And though K- describes herself as a bad vegetarian - she eats fish and fowl, and guiltily enjoys foie gras - she talked about the concept and process for home-cured saucisses as something that was just beautiful. I'm rather tempted to make her some duck confit2 for her enthusiasm alone.

2 fatty ducks (or 4 sets of thighs and drumsticks)
1/3 cup Kosher salt (about 4 teaspoons per pound of duck, half for short preserving periods)
4 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, crumbled
1 bay leaf, crumbled
2 teaspoons white peppercorns, crushed
2 quarts rendered poultry and pork fat
1 garlic head, halved and stuck with 2 cloves
2 cups pork lard for storing the confit (only if there is not enough duck fat)Quarter the ducks and remove the backbones. Cut and trim off as much fat as possible. Grind any excess skin and all the fat in a food processor, place in a deep saucepan with 1 cup water and render the fat (simmer it over low heat for about 45 minutes, uncovered), strain, and reserve.

Cut each breast into halves with the wings attached. Roll each piece of duck in the salt and place it in a large stainless glass or earthen bowl. Sprinkle each piece of duck with a mixture of the shallots, herbs, and spices and scatter any remaining salt over the top. Cover loosely and refrigerate 24 hours. NOTE: This may be cut down to a few hours if it is to be eaten within a week or two.

Rinse quickly, then wipe the pieces of duck to remove all the salt, herbs, spices, and liquid.

Heat the strained fat in a deep, wide kettle. Add the duck, 1/2 cup of water, the halved garlic head, and enough rendered poultry or pork fat to cover. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the duck flesh can be easily pierced with a straw. Do not let the mixture boil.

Remove the duck, drain and discard any loose bones. Strain the warmed fat. Put about 1 cup of warmed fat into each of the bowls or mason jars intended for storage of the confit and cool in order to congeal the fat.

Arrange the duck pieces in the containers without compacting them. Strain the remaining fat, tepid but not hot, over the duck to cover. The pieces of duck must be completely submerged in the fat. Cover and chill until solid. Cover with a layer of melted lard. Cover tightly with a glass top or with plastic wrap and store in a cool place such as a cold cellar or the refrigerator. Leave to ripen at least 1 month. It keeps well for 6 months.

To use the confit, set the jars or bowl in a warm oven. When the fat softens, remove pieces desired. Return jar or bowl to the refrigerator. Be sure all of the remaining pieces are covered with fat. The duck can be served at room temperature or warmed in an oven, then Sauteed to crisp the skin.

In other news, I apparently have a standing order for as much Queso Blanco I can craft.3


1Discussions about privacy in government offices are exactly as exciting as they sound.
2Not to be confused with Oxyconfit as suggested in recent guidelines issued by the VT DOH regarding the disposal of prescription meds: "Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of their original containers. MIX THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WITH an undesirable substance (for example, used kitty litter, coffee grounds, BACON FAT), and place the mixture into a sealable plastic bag or container and place it into the trash."
3I really need to get my hands on a press. Anyone with m4d sk177z want to help me build one?
23 comments or Leave a comment
bbbsg From: bbbsg Date: January 18th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
SSN is used by most govt. agencies, stupid as it is. MassHealth cards even have a different number on them that SHOULD be used, but you get "huh?" in response to ever trying to use it.

what ever happened to flushing meds down the toilet?
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could link to cat9's post, but apparently, the VT DOH has determined that flushed meds can find their way into the environment. Of course, as someone else pointed out, slathering pills with bacon fat isn't exactly a means of discouraging skunks and raccoons.
bbbsg From: bbbsg Date: January 18th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
*blink* i guess dumps are exempt from being part of the environment. also, bacon fat in many VT households would just get burned with the rest of the house waste. also, yeah, skunks and raccoons would have a field day with that.

wow, people are dumb!
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
And how.
technocowboy From: technocowboy Date: January 18th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, just make your own press!
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's kind of what I want to do, albeit in a somewhat more permanent form. It's funny... all of the presses available commercially are identical to designs that used to be home-made and plentiful before WWII.
technocowboy From: technocowboy Date: January 18th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
That doesn't surprise me at all, honestly.

And have I ever mentioned this? He's my uncle. :)
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
No! But that's all kinds of awesome.
From: mittenstone Date: January 18th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
bacon fat is undesirable? how?
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aside from the fact that most 'Mercans don't understand something as a food unless is is pre-made and pre-packaged, I haven't a clue.
cris From: cris Date: January 18th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd pin a guess on the old American Heart Association's campaign against cholesterol -- which marginalized a lot of animal fat in favor of margarine.
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's the damned corn again. Gotta love that food gets wasted in order to create market uses for a bulk commodity that farmers are paid to overproduce.
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's my paranoia speaking.
tigermilkdrunk From: tigermilkdrunk Date: January 18th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am going to integrate oxyconfit into my daily conversation. Thanks for that.
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to help!
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: January 18th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
A. I wants me some duck confit! When are we going to make it?

I miss France.

B. She would like, if we can get it, raw milk queso blanco

C. Your ratatouille was divine. The cheese was a lovely addition.
komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
a) Whenever we can get some duck and have time to render some fat.

b) I'm a little uncomfortable giving raw milk cheese to someone I don't know.

c) Cool. It got better for sitting, but I think it was a good choice overall. Consider the book christened.
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: January 18th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. Let's go to the duck store and make some confit on Monday.
2. She said whatever you want, she's just excited to eat it.
3. I guess after two dishes, we would know if it's any good. I like it, I think it was a good choice. :)
After we make the duck and cook the pork, I think we should tackle some lamb.

komos From: komos Date: January 18th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
i) There's such a thing as a duck store? Holy smokes.
ii) We can probably have a batch ready for her on Tuesday.
iii) k. I want to roast some marrow bones soon, too.
laughingwoman From: laughingwoman Date: January 19th, 2008 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
duck is the one word i know in five languages.
mmmm, duck.
komos From: komos Date: January 19th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a good one to know. Along with "bed" and "bathroom," I imagine you'd be pretty well set for a while.
tarotchan From: tarotchan Date: January 20th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)

I have a pile of duck quarters that I have been looking for something to do with!EUREKA.

Btw asian grocery stores... 8 quarters for not much money!
komos From: komos Date: January 20th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've also found a recipe for confit and sage sausages. Gods help me, if it's wrong, I don't want to be right.
23 comments or Leave a comment