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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Dinner  Part 1

So, Christmas...

Last year, my husband got a stomach flu just before Christmas, and I didn't know what to cook.  I waited until the 24th afternoon to make the decision (congee, chicken soup or Christmas dinner?), and ran to the supermarket, looking for something nice to cook (..Christmas dinner after all!)
Sadly, all I found was chicken breast and pheasant.  I went for the pheasant, without really knowing what to do with it.
The result was.. mostly edible (apart from the shots - it was a wild pheasant, killed with a gun, apparently).



In order to avoid last year's tragedy (?), I decided to cook something that wouldn't result in last-minute panic, no matter what the situation is.  Confit de Canard!!
Confit means "preserved", and duck confit is a typical way of cooking duck leg in France.  Preparing this at home was not complicated or difficult, but took time to prepare.  This is what I did for two leg portions (one site in particular that was very helpful was this one - special thanks to this Japanese restaurant website, SOU :


First, weigh salt (1.5% of the weight of leg) and sugar (0.3% of the weight), and rub them into the meat with herbs (I used fresh thyme and dried laurel).  Leave them overnight.  Next day, wash off the salt and pat them dry, while you melt the duck fat (we purchased it separately- for two duck leg portions, you will need 500~600g) over low heat.  Set the oven temperature to 110c, and prepare an oven-proof dish deep enough that you can fit the duck legs, and can cover them with melted duck fat.  Cook for 2hrs, making sure that the meat is coated in the fat.
When cooked, put the legs in a clean container, and pour the fat through a sieve.  Make sure that the meat is completely covered.  Keep it in the fridge - they say it keeps for a month (or more..).  Mine were left for two weeks to mature..


So, this is what it looked like, when I took it out to re-heat.  I had to dig the legs out from the solid white fat...


I then pan-fried the legs (I tried to heat in the oven, but the fat explosion was a bit too much- it made my oven very oily and smoky), and served it with red cabbage and roasted veg.  By mistake, I made a huge portion of braised red cabbage (12 portions, according to Delia Smith, but luckily it freezes well..


So this is what our main course looked like..


To be continued..

1 comment:

  1. 朝倉さくらさん、こんにちは!はじめまして、コメントを頂いた艸です。