Duck Breasts and Confit of Duck Legs
Cooking duck using the sous vide technique ensures the meat will be exceptionally tender. Note that the duck legs need to be seasoned and then refrigerated for 36 hours, so plan accordingly.
For the duck legs:
- 1 Tbs. dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 duck legs, Frenched
- 6 Tbs. duck fat
For the duck breasts:
- 2 duck breasts, each 1 inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. duck fat
To prepare the duck legs, crush the dried thyme and bay leaves in the salt until it is evenly mixed. Sprinkle the salt mixture over the duck legs. Place in the refrigerator and let cure for 36 hours.
Remove the duck legs from the refrigerator and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Set the Sous Vide Professional to 167°F (75°C), with the rear pump flow switch closed and the front flow switch set to fully open.
Place the duck legs in a medium vacuum bag and add 4 Tbs. of the duck fat.
Seal the bag to the desired vacuum; for duck, 90% to 95% vacuum is desirable.
Once the target temperature of 167°F (75°C) is reached, place the bag in the circulating water bath.
Cook the duck legs to the desired doneness, 10 to 12 hours.
Remove the bag from the circulating water and remove the duck legs from the bag.
Just before serving, in a hot pan, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. duck fat. Add the duck legs and sear until the skin is crisp.
To prepare the duck breasts, set the Sous Vide Professional to 135°F (57°C), with the rear pump flow switch closed and the front flow switch set to fully open.
Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper.
Place the duck breasts in a vacuum bag and add the duck fat.
Seal the bag to the desired vacuum; for duck, 90% to 95% vacuum is desirable. Make sure that all the ingredients are cold. If necessary, place the bag with the duck breasts and fat in an ice bath.
Place the sealed bag, with the duck breasts skin side down, on the counter. Shape the duck breasts so the skin side is flat and the duck breasts look plump. This will ensure that the skin browns evenly when you render the fat.
Once the target temperature of 135°F (57°C) is reached, place the bag in the circulating water bath.
Cook the duck breasts for 45 minutes.
Remove the bag from the circulating water and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes, then remove the duck breasts from the bag.
Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a pan over medium heat and render out as much of the fat as desired. Turn the breasts over and sear the meat side for no more than 60 seconds. Cut into slices and serve with the duck legs. Serves 2.
Adapted from a recipe by PolyScience.