Sometimes, the best moment in life is finding hidden delights lurking at the back of your fridge. Especially on days when you are unsure about what to cook for supper. And lucky for me, yesterday was such a day.
About 6 months ago, I made some duck confit and was planning to write a blog post about it. Somehow amidst all the trial and tribulations of daily lives and more exciting posts that I decided to write about, it got lost. So this jar of duck confit have been sitting quietly at the bottom of my fridge, neglected by me all these time. This is what happens when you have simply to much stuff in the fridge, you can't see the confit for the bottles.
But guess my excitement when I saw this majestic jar as I paved my way through the bottles of condiments and sauces. So in complying with the National Pie Week, a thought went through my head. I'm going to make a pie. But not just any pie. I'm going to make a French classic Parmentier de confit de canard. Similar to a Shepherd's pie but with a far richer duck confit filling.
Of course, this can be made using shop-bought duck confit which means that creating this dish will be a doddle. However, I have also included my recipe for making your own, this is so easy and I think nothing will ever beat a homemade version. The duck confit will keep for at least 6-12 months in a cool place or at the bottom of your fridge so it is worth making some and save it for a rainy day, like making this delicious classic French pie. Bon appétit!
For the duck confit:
4 duck legs
1 kg duck fat
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic. leave whole but cut into half horizontally
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The day before, rub the duck leg generously with sea salt and season with freshly ground black pepper. Place in a dish, cover with clingfilm and leave to chill overnight in the fridge.
The following day, remove the duck legs from the fridge, rinse with cold water and wipe dry.
In a pan large enough to fit the duck legs, melt the duck fat over low heat. Add the thyme, bay leaves and garlic and immerse the duck legs into the fat and simmer on a very low heat for 2-3 hours, until the flesh are tender flakes off the bones easily.
Meanwhile, sterilise a 1.5 litre jar by washing it thoroughly with warm soapy water, then place it upside down and allow it to drip dry in a low oven, roughly 140ºC, for 20-25 minutes.
Transfer the duck legs carefully into the sterilised jar and cover completely with duck fat. Sealed and allow to cool completely before storing.
For the Parmentier de Confit de Canard:
Ingredients (Serves 4)
For the mashed potatoes topping:
1 kg floury potato, such as Maris Piper or King Edward
200g unsalted butter (use less for a healthier options if you like), plus more for finishing
100ml creme fraiche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the duck confit filling:
4 pieces of duck confit, remove the skin and pull the meat of the bones and shred roughly
2 tbsp duck fat from the jar of confit
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
125ml red wine
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes skin on for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Drain and allow to cool slightly before removing the skin and mash together with the butter, creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Heat up the duck fat in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and onions and cooked for 2-3 minutes , until soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the shredded duck meat and fry for 3 minutes, until the edges have turn slightly crispy and golden. Toss in the parsley and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. This helps to release all the crispy bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan and create a delicious sauce. Cook for a further 3-4 minute before transferring this to an ovenproof pie dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and run a fork across the top to create rough peaks. To finish, dot with small pieces of butter and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the potato crisp and turn gold brown. Serves immediately.
And the following day. . . . . Duck Confit Hash
The leftover makes for a great light brunch the next day. Lightly mash up the leftover pie and fry in some butter on a hot pan until the edges are crisp. Scatter with some chopped parsley and top with a crispy-edge fried egg. Cut into the yolk and watch the golden yellow flow out. Enjoy...