This is fabulous recipe I use to make back in France for the Holidays . Originally the recipe called for fresh duck breasts and fresh duck foie gras….the foie gras bringing enough fat to the otherwise dry breasts making for the perfect Holiday dish . Now living in California where such delicacy has been banned ( and I have to say that our own livers have also a hard time digesting it too now ) I have modified my recipe to something just as delicious and tasty but healthier, much easier to digest and also legal !! No need to smuggle foie gras on your next trip to France !
Serve it with a wild arugula salad , caramelized pears and pecan with a basalmic vinaigrette .
But before to get there you first have to make your own duck confit as it is just impossible to find some here . Duck confit is one of the most delicious way to eat duck , even for those who do not care for duck as it is cured in such a way that it falls of the bones and melt in your mouth . I just wish we could find fattier duck legs with a thick fat skin but I still got delicious results with the legs I find at Whole Foods . Once cooked the duck confit legs can be kept in the duck fat for months in the fridge making the whole process easier as many steps can be done in advance .
Making duck Confit legs at home :
It is a “long” process but a very easy one , so don’t panic !
First cure the legs with sea salt rubbing the duck . Lay flat in a baking sheet and put in the fridge for 15 to maximum 20 hours ( any longer and your duck will be way too salty ) Then rinse well and pat dry . I would make as many as possible since they preserve so long . You will need 5 legs for a tourte …but a duck confit leg with a crispy skin served on a potatoe gratin is also a fabulous dinner any day !
In a crock pot put the duck legs and cover with melted duck fat . You can buy duck fat at specialty stores like Whole Foods . It comes in small containers and looks solid . Buy as much as you need to cover all the duck ….this will also preserve the duck once cooked and can be used over and over ….also tastiest way to saute some potatoes ! I always have some in my fridge ….
Simmer at a very low temperature 70F to maximum 80F so the fat does not boil for about 6 to 8 hours .This is when the crock pot comes in handy ….but I could not adjust the temperature on mine so I had to go from “low ” setting to ” keep warm” in order to keep the temperature under control . When the meat is super tender , put in a container and cover totally with the duck fat . Store in the fridge .
The day you want to make the duck tourte , take the duck out and warm up to melt the fat. Boil some thick potatoe slices . When almost cooked , drain and lay on a baking pan . Display the duck legs on top and put in oven to broil until the skin gets crispy and gold.
For a 12″ round pie mold big enough to serve 8 people :
Pull the crispy skin and duck meat off the bones of 5 legs , lightly mash about one big cooked potato ( the one sliced that was under the duck in the oven ), mash slightly a small jar of cooked and peeled chestnuts. Rehydrate a bag of wild dry mushrooms ( 25grs from Trader Joes ) then saute in butter with a bag of sliced crimimi mushrooms ( 10oz bag chopped ). Once all the water is evaporated ad to the meat + 2 eggs and 20ml of whipping cream , pepper , NO salt .Mix well
You will need a package of 2 frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff pastry sheets . Defrost the day before . Roll flat the 1st sheet and lay inside the pie mold. Fill with meat mix , cover with the second puff pastry sheet using water or egg white to “glue” the 2 together . Decorate with the rest of dough .Make a small chimney so the steam can get out and keep the crust crunchy , brush with egg yolk so it will get a nice color and bake for a bout 45 mns at 375F or less. Serve warm not hot .
And voila !