When it comes to inspiration for your next dinner party menu, it can be hard to come up with new and exciting ideas. Perhaps you are thinking about making duck confit, a dish which is bound to delight and impress your friends.
But how do you know what to serve with duck confit? The traditional accompaniments to duck confit are crispy potatoes, roasted in duck fat and garlic. For a lighter option, pair your duck confit with a green salad and punchy vinaigrette dressing.
If you’re searching for some innovative and interesting ideas for your next gourmet dinner, then look no further! We’ve got everything you need to know about what to serve with duck confit right here.
What Is Duck Confit?
Duck confit, or confit de canard, is a classic French dish found in many Parisian bistros and rural French restaurants.
Duck is a very popular ingredient in French cooking, and many argue that duck confit is the finest way to prepare this rich and flavorsome meat.
Duck confit consists of the duck legs which have been cooked very slowly in their own fat until the meat is soft, juicy, and tender. The skin is left on the meat, and this is quickly crisped up on high heat just before serving.
The best way to describe duck confit is as a more indulgent version of roast chicken thighs! The delectable, crisp skin, lying over a layer of succulent, flavorsome meat, is just sublime.
The word ‘confit’ actually means ‘preserved’. This is because traditionally, the duck meat was slow-cooked in fat and then stored for consumption at a later date.
This method of food preservation is not commonly used in the modern-day, but it is a great way to store cooked meat that is succulent and tasty.
Is Duck Confit Easy To Make?
Cooking a dish such as duck confit sounds quite daunting to the amateur cook. What if you end up with dry, chewy meat, and rubbery skin? How hard is it to actually make a good duck confit?
Well, it is easier than you might think! And there is one very simple option available to you – you can purchase pre-cooked canned duck legs, stored in a layer of rich duck fat.
So when it comes to your dinner party, all you need to do is crisp up the skin in the oven!
But what if you want to make the whole dish from scratch – is duck confit easy to make? It is a relatively simple dish to cook, but you need to allow for plenty of cooking time.
To start with, the duck is seasoned with an assortment of herbs, salt, and pepper and left to cure overnight. This is a traditional part of the process, which dates back to when duck confit would have been stored for several months to mature.
The cure is washed off the duck meat the following day, to avoid contaminating the duck fat with excessive amounts of salt.
The well-seasoned duck must then be slowly roasted for up to 2 hours, covered in a layer of duck fat.
Although traditionally the legs are used in duck confit, the breasts can also work well. If you have a whole duck, it is better to cut it into portions before roasting.
After the duck has been roasted, you can leave it to cool and even store it overnight. This can be very helpful if you are preparing in advance for a dinner party the next day.
To serve your duck, wipe off most of the excess duck fat, then you need to crisp up the skin. You can do this by roasting it in the oven for 15 minutes, or frying it in a pan until the skin is crispy and golden.
You are now ready to serve your delicious duck confit, but what should you serve it with? Let’s find out!
What Flavors Go Best With Duck?
Duck meat has a strong, rich flavor, and can be paired with some unusual and interesting accompaniments. It works really well with sweet and sour foods – balsamic reductions, hoisin sauce, caramelized onions, and even fruity flavors.
Duck also works well with warm, spicy flavors. The rich flavor can stand up well to cinnamon, fennel, Chinese five-spice, and other oriental pairings.
However, if you are looking for something more subtle, you can’t go wrong with the old favorites! Pairing duck with simple potatoes and vegetables will allow the delectable flavor of this fabulous meat to shine.
What To Serve With Duck Confit
You have many options of how to serve your duck confit, and let’s start with the traditional French accompaniments.
In a Parisian bistro, your confit de canard would traditionally be served with Pommes de Terre à la Sarladaise – slices of potatoes cooked in duck fat and garlic. A truly decadent dish!
To recreate this at home, you could serve your duck confit with small crispy potatoes, roasted in duck or goose fat.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a healthier option, simple boiled potatoes dressed in olive oil or butter will also work well.
Another accompaniment enjoyed by the French is braised red cabbage with apples and red wine. The sweet and sour rich flavor of this side dish perfectly complements the dark, succulent duck meat.
If you are looking for a healthier dish to serve with duck confit, then a salad can work well. Choose a simple green salad, with dark peppery leaves such as arugula and mustard.
Dress with a punchy vinaigrette to cut through the fattiness of the duck. You can either serve the duck confit whole or shred the meat and skin and scatter it over the salad.
Duck confit can taste amazing with a rich, sweet sauce drizzled over it. Sauces made from dark fruits, such as plum, will complement the meat perfectly.
Or if you are in the mood for something really different, try a dark chocolate and red wine sauce!
If the unlikely event occurs that you have leftover crispy roast duck, what can you do with it?
This delightful and succulent meat works well in oriental dishes, and our favorite suggestion would be to shred it into a stir-fry with vegetables and Hoisin sauce, served over noodles.
Alternatively, you could knock up a batch of Chinese duck fried rice, or a Cantonese roast duck soup.
What Drinks Pair Well With Duck Confit?
So, that’s the dinner sorted, but what about the drinks?
If you’re serving poultry, then most of us would automatically reach for the white wine. However, duck meat has a rich, almost gamey, flavor, and deserves to be paired with something with more intense.
Most wine connoisseurs recommend that duck should be served with a full-bodied and earthy red wine. Favorites include Pinot Noir, Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon.
If your guests prefer white wine, then you need something very robust to withstand the flavor of the meat. Opt for white wines made from grapes such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
And for those who are steering clear of alcohol, a rich and fruity juice drink would work well. We’d suggest a dark blackberry juice, topped with sparkling water for a bit of fizz.
Speaking of fizz, don’t rule out serving a glass of sparkling wine with your duck confit – sometimes a dish this special deserves to be celebrated!
Now that we’ve gone over what pairs best with duck confit, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
What can be substituted for duck confit?
When it comes to a dish as traditional and unique as duck confit, there are not really any true alternatives. However, you can modify the dish to suit your tastes and requirements.
This dish works best with poultry meats, and you could consider swapping the duck for chicken or goose.
The flavor will not be as intense, so adjust your side dishes accordingly. If you are looking for a healthier cooking method, try using olive oil instead of duck fat.
For guests with specific dietary requirements, you need something which is going to equal the duck confit in terms of richness and flavor.
Some vegetables, such as beetroot, eggplant, and parsnip, can actually be cooked using the same method as duck confit. A crispy stuffed pepper or zucchini could also be a great vegetarian or vegan alternative.
How long can duck confit be stored for?
The idea behind duck confit is that it was a method of cooking duck so that it could be preserved for a long period of time.
This process involves several stages but is worthwhile if you’ve got a large amount of duck to store. The flavor of the duck also improves over time, making this a technique well worth trying.
The traditional method is to cure the raw duck portions overnight in a salty seasoning. This helps to preserve the duck confit for longer. The following day cure is washed off and the meat is dried thoroughly, ready for cooking.
The next step is to slow cook the duck in its own fat until it is soft and tender. The cooked meat is then placed in a jar, along with a generous helping of duck fat.
To do this, the fat is gently warmed and poured over the duck meat, filling the air gaps and covering the meat.
When prepared in this way, duck confit can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
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