Happy New Year! I am kicking off the new year with a catch up post. I’ve continued cooking along with Cook the Book Fridays, but I haven’t managed to keep up with my blogging. I will be covering each item in the order cooked (because the order was strategic!).
Counterfeit Duck Confit
Counterfeit Duck Confit provides a simplified way of making the classic duck confit at home. It takes some planning head (the duck legs marinate overnight then roast for close to three hours), but the technique is easy.
I don’t think I’ve ever had duck confit, so I’m not sure how it compares to the real deal, but I enjoyed this duck a lot. Part of the leg portion was a touch dry, but the skin was crispy and delicious and most of the meat was moist and tender.
I cooked four duck legs and froze two of them. I also saved the duck fat that remained in the baking dish. Keep reading to see why!
Fennel, Radish, Orange, and Crab Salad
Fennel, Radish, Orange, and Crab Salad is pretty much what it sounds like. Simple crab salad placed on a bed of sliced fennel and radicchio topped with orange suprêmes and sliced radishes.
We liked this, but I would change a few things: 1) There were too many greens for the amount of crab; I ended up using only half the greens I prepared. 2) We didn’t care for the bitter flavor of the radicchio and felt like we would have enjoyed the salad more with romaine lettuce. 3) Buy a better crab! The crab I bought was only OK, so I can only imagine how delicious the salad would be with perfectly fresh crab.
That said, we enjoyed the all the flavors of the salad (except the bitter radicchio), especially the brightness of the orange.
Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat
Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat: another very descriptive recipe title! Remember the duck fat I saved when I made the Counterfeit Duck Confit? I used it to make these potatoes.
What I like about this recipe is that the potatoes are parboiled in water and then fried. This helps ensure they are creamy and cooked through on the inside and not too overdone on the outside.
Yum! These are the best fried potatoes I have ever made. I served them with an egg scramble (using leftover fennel and radicchio from the crab salad) for “Breakfast for Dinner”.
Finally, the Cassoulet! Or, the more descriptive White Bean, Sausage, Duck Confit Casserole.
This was an all day project, even with the already-made duck confit legs I pulled out of the freezer. I cut out some of the time by using my Instant Pot to cook the beans and ham hock (I saved about an hour and a half).
This recipe make a lot. I cut the recipe in half and it still served us for two dinners, a lunch, and sadly some that went to the trash.
This is another French classic that I have never eaten before. I don’t know if the ratio is traditional, but I thought there were too many beans to the duck confit and sausages. Next time (if there is a next time) I would cut the beans in half again.
I wanted to like this more than I did. The beans had a wonderful flavor, but I wanted more of the meat. Also, as my husband said, “It has a delicious background flavor, but it’s all background flavor”. He wanted more punch from the duck confit and sausages, but the flavors blended almost too well with the beans. So, while I had fun making this, and I really did enjoy eating it, I doubt I would make it again. Too much effort for not enough payoff.
Whew! I need a rest after that. Good thing it’s the weekend!
All the recipes mention in this post can be found in David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.