This is a three day process and we do not use ducks that have been frozen. The final instructions for both a cassoulet or confit are at the end of the recipe.
if you don’t dry out the skin in the fridge you will lose a lot of rendered fat and the skin won’t be nice and crispy.
1 x 2kg [approx.] fresh duck
1 whole small onion, peeled and stuck with three cloves
5 sprigs Thyme
finely ground sea salt
duck needle [upholstery needle available at most haberdashery shops like Spotlight] and cotton cooking twine
1.5kg onion p/w very finely sliced
Maldon sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
Rinse the duck under cold running water and pat it dry. Put the onion and thyme in the cavity and stitch it up. Tie up the neck and snip off the wing tips. Bring about 3L of water to a rapid boil. Put a rack in your sink and sit the duck breast side down on the rack.
Pour about one third of the boiling water over the duck, turn it breast side up and slowly pour the remaining boiling water over the duck. While it is still warm rub fine salt all over the skin. Sit the duck on a rack and put it uncovered into the fridge.
Always make sure you sterilise your duck needle before putting it away.
Select a baking dish that is approximately the size of the duck. Spread the onion evenly over the bottom of the pan. Season the onion lightly with salt and very generously with freshly and coarsely ground black pepper. Sit the duck breast side up on the onion.
pre heat oven to 180°C
Put the duck in the middle of the oven and se a timer for 1 hour. When the timer goes, remove the duck from the pan and stir over the onion, bringing the browned edges into the centre of the pan. Put the duck back on the onion and return to the oven.
Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes repeat the process, this time spooning some of the rendered fat over the top of the duck. Set a timer for another 30 minutes. The duck should be cooked, the top skin crispy and the meat falling from the bone. If you think it needs a little longer return the duck to the oven.
Allow the duck to cool slightly and then wearing cotton gloves inside food service gloves pull off all of the meat and skin. This is much easier to do while the duck is still reasonably hot. The bones can be sued in stock.
Roughly chop the skin…if you haven’t eaten it while pulling the meat from the bones.
Put the fat and onion in a vac bag, allow to cool COMPLETELY, vac when cold and refrigerate [or freeze] until you’re ready to use. When the duck meat is cold vac and refrigerate [or freeze] until you’re ready to use. Both actions should be done wearing food service gloves.
Shred the duck. Rough process half of the onion. Add a small splash of Brandy and mix everything together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Put into sterilized containers with tight fitting lids and when it is completely set contact cover with Freezer-go-Between, close with the lid and refrigerate. Equally the faux confit can be vacced but it is not as easy, or practical, to be able to get a small amount out.