The first time I ate a duck confit quesadilla was at Robert Redford’s Sun Dance Ski Resort. I never would have thought of making one myself. Duck confit sounds so fancy and French and, well, just a little bit stuffy. Believe me, it’s not. The rich duck flavor is perfect in a rustic and simple dish like quesadillas. It only takes a little of the duck meat mixed with sweet roasted chiles and lots of melted Jack cheese in each tortilla to make a quick and easy dinner or appetizer.
“Confit” is a way of preserving meat by salt curing it and then cooking it in its own fat. Usually, the duck legs are placed in a dutch oven with garlic and herbs then submerged in duck fat. The meat is slow cooked in the oven until tender and juicy. I’ve changed that just a little. I cook mine in the slow-cooker, it makes it much easier to control the cooking temperature. I’ve also changed the tub of duck fat required to cook it in. Duck fat can be pretty hard to find. There is only one grocery store near my home that sells containers of duck fat in the freezer section but, they don’t carry it all the time. Cooking the duck confit in chicken fat or olive oil sort of defeats the purpose. That’s why I came up with my Duck Confit “Lite” Recipe.
To make duck confit “lite,” you need a whole duck. Just cut apart, or fabricate, the duck by removing the legs, wings and breasts of the duck. Reserve all of the excess skin and fat from the trimmed duck pieces and remove the skin and fat from the rest of the duck carcass.
Heavily season the duck with salt and place in a glass or plastic dish. Add black pepper, fresh thyme and dried bay leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 30 hours. Rinse the salt off and pat dry with paper towel.
Place the duck legs and thighs in the slow-cooker with the skin side down. Add the herbs and seasonings then, place the wings on top of the duck legs. Cover the legs and wings with the excess fat and skin from the duck and any fat that has been rendered from searing the duck breasts. As the duck cooks, it will be basted in the melted fat.
I have found that this is all the fat necessary to keep the duck legs covered in their own fat as they cook and them that rich, moist flavor.
Remove the duck legs from the slow-cooker and remove the skin. Remove any meat from the wings, as well. Put the duck in a small container. Strain the duck fat from the slow-cooker and pour over the duck meat. Keep the duck submerged completely in the fat and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- 2 duck legs
- 2 duck wings
- excess skin and fat from trimmed duck
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 juniper berries, crushed (optional)
- 12 small, sweet mini peppers or Anaheim chiles
- 1 dozen flour tortillas, 10 inch size
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 scallions
- 4 ounces sour cream, for garnish
- Serve with your favorite salsa
- Cut the duck legs, wings, excess skin and fat from a whole duck.
- Heavily season the legs and wings with kosher salt. Press salt into the flesh and place legs in a glass or plastic container, fat side down.
- Sprinkle the legs with black pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and juniper berries (optional). Place the wings on top of the legs.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 30 hours. Refrigerate excess skin and fat, as well.
- Remove duck from the container and rinse under cold water to remove the salt and seasonings. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Place duck legs in a slow-cooker, fat side down. Top with wings and excess fat and skin.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat of the legs pulls away from the bones.
- Remove duck legs and wings from slow-cooker and place in a smaller container or mason jar.
- Strain the fat from the slow-cooker and pour over the duck. Store in the refrigerator completely submerged in fat for up to 2 weeks.
- For Quesadilla
- Roast peppers or chiles in a dry pan or under the broiler. Remove seeds and stems. Dice.
- Brush one side of a flour tortilla with melted butter and place in a large saute pan, butter side down.
- Sprinkle duck confit, peppers, scallion and cheese evenly over the tortilla.
- Top with a second tortilla. Brush the top of the second tortilla with butter.
- Cook until lightly golden brown then turn the quesadilla over with a spatula. Cook until second side is lightly golden brown.
- Remove from pan and repeat steps for the other three quesadillas.
- Cut into wedges and garnish with sour cream and extra scallions and chiles.
- Serve with salsa.
I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think of my Duck Confit “Lite.”
—posted by Sandy