Yesterday, we showed you three killer side dishes from our own in-house chefs. Today, we have an exclusive Thanksgiving tip from another of Seattle’s finest, Mr. Cormac Mahoney (whom you also met yesterday as part of our Gifts with Personality campaign, shot by The Selby).
Enough talk; without further ado, we’ll let Cormac take it away:
“Here’s a great, guy-friendly Thanksgiving recipe. This is really, really easy—just takes some steps. These legs will hold in the refrigerator all holiday season under their fat, and can be easily prepared in a flash.”
—Cormac Mahoney, Chef/Co-owner of Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle, Washington
CONFIT DUCK LEGS
4 duck legs, fresh
4 oz. kosher salt
4 oz. of your favorite spice mix (go McCormick ‘Herbes de Provence’ if you don’t have your own)
1. Combine salt and spices in a bowl; mix well.
2. Trim any excess fat from the legs to make them uniform, without exposing any more flesh. Save scraps.
Prick skin of legs all over with a sharp knife tip or skewer—this helps fat render.
Toss duck legs and excess fat in spice mix and coat well, shaking off excess.
3. Put in ziplock bag, suck out air, seal and refrigerate for a day.
4. Preheat oven to 250º.
5. Take legs out, rinse off mix and pat dry.
Heat a pan large enough to hold all four legs to about medium.
Add fat scraps and let melt for 5 minutes. DON’T BURN! Turn the heat down if you have to.
6. Add legs, skin side up. Carefully and tightly wrap pan in foil and place in oven.
7. Let cook for about 2.5 hours. Carefully check on legs—opening the tinfoil will release steam that will burn you. With a fork, pull a little meat off of a leg and taste: should be tender but not mushy.
8. When done, take out of oven and let cool to room temp. Remove legs and hold on a plate.
Save the fat! It’s great for roasting potatoes, frying eggs, etc.
If you aren’t going to use duck immediately, you can transfer legs to a sealable container, cover in the rendered fat and refrigerate. Will last under fat for a month or more.
To Serve Legs:
– Preheat oven to 325º.
– Heat pan to medium heat, add a little duck fat and place legs, skin side down, in pan.
– The idea is to crisp the skin without burning it—slow and low is good.
– Once the skin starts to crisp, put pan in oven for 5-10 minutes.
– Remove pan from oven and flip legs over so fat can drain off skin; pat with paper towel if necessary.
Serve with anything: salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce. Potato chips and hot sauce are great, too.
Outtakes from our shoot with The Selby.
Three steps to looking like a pro in your own kitchen?
Black T-shirt, tasteful ink, big knife.
[Recipe by Cormac Mahoney, 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef. Taste his food in-person at Madison Park Conservatory in Seattle, Washington: madisonparkconservatory.com | 206.324.9701 | 1927 43rd Avenue East, Seattle, WA. Photographs by The Selby.]