Duck Confit with Strawberries and Thyme Shortcake

by BiteSizedJessica on May 26, 2010




Duck confit salad with strawberries and thyme shortcake was the result of a dinner party we recently catered in Philadelphia for Jonathan’s grandparents. Confit is a preservation technique in cooking whereby food is fully immersed in fat and cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time until it is extremely tender. The process allows not only for the preservation of the food (often duck, goose or pork) but also for the flavoring of the meat as well. Duck confit is usually made with duck legs and is another way we are able to use all the parts of the whole ducks we get in at the restaurant. Strawberries and rhubarb are just coming into season at the farmer’s market, and fruit is always a nice pairing for duck.

This past Saturday Jon and I served a pulled-duck confit salad with rhubarb jam, and we were discussing more unique ways of combining the duck and fruit. Coincidentally, we received a large box of strawberries from the farmer’s market as a thank you gift for cooking dinner. The idea of stuffing the strawberry with the duck salad came to mind, and the sweet and savory play on strawberry shortcake was the next step. Although the process of confit may seem a little daunting to someone who has never done it before, it is actually really easy and so deliciously worth the patience and time that it takes.



Ingredients

For the Confit:

4 duck legs (we used Lola but you may use any type of duck that is fresh)
6 cups duck fat, room temperature
10 sprigs of thyme
3-4 sprigs sage
½ head of garlic, crushed


For the Confit Salad:

4 legs duck confit, pulled
2 teaspoons Dijon
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste



For the Jam:

6 stalks rhubarb, roughly diced
2 Pink Lady apples, roughly diced
1 box strawberres, roughly diced
½ cup sugar
¼ cup sherry
3 tablespoons butter


For the Thyme Shortcake:

2 ½ cups all purpose flour, sifted
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter, cold and diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cream

Process

For the Confit:

      1. Preheat oven to 250°. Allow duck fat to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, crush garlic and arrange duck in pan, skin side down. Spread herbs evenly across the duck and then top with the other legs, flesh side down. Immerse completely in duck fat and cover with a layer of parchment. Seal tightly with a layer of foil and cook for 4-5 hours, until meat is tender and falling off the bone. Be sure to check confit occasionally to ensure that the fat is not bubbling or boiling.

      2. When duck is fully cooked and tender, remove from fat and let cool. Strain fat and reserve for another use – fat can be frozen. Pick through duck to remove all fat, bone, sinew and any grizzle.

      3. When duck meat is clean, pull apart with a fork while incorporating the Dijon, Champagne vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and chives.

For the Jam:

      1. Rinse rhubarb, apples and strawberries, and roughly chop. Be sure to trim rhubarb ends and removing all cores and stems of apples and strawberries.

      2. Combine fruit, sugar, sherry and butter in pan and cook, covered, on low heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is softened. Smash any remaining chunks of fruit with a wooden spoon until jam is nearly smooth. Let cool.

For the Thyme Shortcake:

      1. Preheat oven to 450°. Sift together dry ingredients – flour, salt and baking powder. Add sugar and chopped thyme. In a mixer or food processor, pulse in butter until mixture resembles a coarse mealy texture.

      2. Slowly combine buttermilk and cream until just combined.

      3. Carefully turn out dough onto a floured work surface. Cut into desired shape and lay out on a buttered sheet pan.

      4. Bake shortbread until golden brown and flakey, 20-30 minutes.

For the Bite:

      1. Hull strawberries and stuff with duck salad.

      2. Halve biscuits and top with jam and duck-stuffed berry. Spoon a small taste of crème frâiche onto the berry and serve.

© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

M. June 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

wow….this sounds and looks amazing….love all the instructional photos, wonderful combination of flavors…sweet, savory, herbal…I imagine you wowed the crowd at the dinner party with this one :)

hungry dog June 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Wow, this is gorgeous. I never would think to pair duck with strawberries, but why not? This is a lovely dish.

Jessica June 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm

You make confit sound so do-able! and the recipe seems so creative, good job! I have a lot to learn from here.

BiteSizedJessica June 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Thanks so much! Confit is do-able – but I think sometimes because people are unfamiliar with the word, or because it takes a few hours, it seems like more of a big deal than it really is. I’m glad to hear I made it accessible to you – you should definitely try it! People are always impressed when you serve it, and it really is delicious.

Ariel Meter June 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Looks great! I’d definitely try the duck confit. I’m just wondering how “healthy” the confit technique is, with the duck cooked on all that fat –maybe a “once a year” dish? :D

BiteSizedJonathan June 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Thanks for the comments. Ari, you should just make it bite sized, you can eat one bite a week all year, not so bad…

list of spices July 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

Since we’re disscussing the benefits of Duck Confit with Strawberries and Thyme Shortcake, Many folks are always testing different spices as they are preparing meals. Spices will add flavor to a plain dish and make it scrumptious rather than ordinary. Not cooking with right spice may also wreck an entire dish in a few seconds.

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