This was the third course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.
Last year’s roasted duck legs didn’t turn out so well and I didn’t want to braise them again so I took the classic, ambitious French-route this year, which is why I had to cut a course out because it was too overwhelming for my tiny studio kitchen. It also made sense because why have two soups?
For the Confit
- 6 legs from 3 ducks, Frenched
- 2 cups salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 garlic head, minced
- 12 bay leaves, crushed
- 12 thyme sprigs, picked and crushed
- 3 TBS black peppercorns, cracked
- 2 quarts rendered duck fat
Sprinkle a shallow layer of salt and sugar into a shallow glass/plastic container. Scatter with half the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns over the salt/sugar and lay duck legs on top in a single layer. Scatter over remaining herbs, spices, salt, and sugar. Wrap/cover and refrigerate duck for 1-2 days.
After 24-28 hours, pre-heat oven to 225°F. Remove duck from cure mixture and rinse salt off. Pat dry duck and place in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. In a saucepan, gently warm fat until just melted. Cover duck completely with melted fat.
Cook in oven very slowly – you should only see a small bubble every now and then – until the meat is tender and ready to fall off the bone. Approximately 2-4 hours. If the duck seems to be cooking too quickly, or the fat begins to simmer, reduce temperature to 200°F.
When the duck is ready, remove from oven and cool in the fat. Once cool, peel skin off and reserve for cracklings. Using your fingers, shred duck meat and store them in the fat. Duck should be completely submerged.
This entire process can be done in advance because the duck submerged in its own fat can store for several weeks.
For the Duck Skin Cracklings
Under a broiler, crisp up reserved duck leg skin from confit process. Season with salt. For extra crispiness, place in a dehydrator.
For the Cream of Mushroom & Chestnut
- Butter, as needed
- 6 leeks, white & pale green parts only, sliced
- 3 quarts packed mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb roasted chestnuts, cut
- Chicken stock, as needed
- ¼ lb AP flour
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
In a pan, sauté mushrooms to get color and aroma. In a saucepan, sweat leeks with butter and add the sautéed mushrooms and roasted chestnuts. Add enough chicken stock to cover. Season and bring to a boil. Turn heat down for simmering. Cook for 15 minutes.
In a separate pot, make a blond roux using ¼ lb butter and ¼ lb AP flour. Scoop away little by little of roux and put it in the saucepan until desired consistency and thickness. Add the heavy cream and adjust for seasoning.
For the Finish
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Pick parsley leaves and set aside.
Fit a medium saucepan (with thermometer) and pour in oil to measure 1”. Heat over medium-high until thermometer is at 350°F. Fry until parsley is translucent, about 15 seconds. Season with salt.
For extra crispiness, place in dehydrator or 110°F oven.
Scoop soup in bowl, place a large ball of shredded duck confit in the center, garnish with skin cracklings and fried parsley. Serve with toasted bread.