I don’t often read the Tri-Lakes Edition of the Arkansas Online News (covering Clark, Garland, Grant, Hotspring, & Saline counties… In case you were wondering!), but when I do, it sure is nice to see some down-home recipes. The recent wild game pilot project announcement in Quebec has me inspired to find the perfect squirrel recipe…
750 ml kosher salt
500 ml golden brown sugar
30ml cracked black peppercorn
8 garlic cloves
8 sprigs thyme
8 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
Orange peel (optional)
With a sharp knife, cut all the way around the leg bone, close to the knuckle. This will sever the tendons and allow the meat to slide down the bone without tearing during the cooking process. Trim excess fat from legs to help speed the curing process & acquire more duck fat for when you’re ready to cook the legs. Chop the trimmed fat into small pieces, and cook in a heavy bottomed pan to render all the useable fat.
Duck legs, trimmed & cut
Pick leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme & rosemary, smash 2 cloves of garlic with the flat of a knife & then combine all the rub ingredients in a medium bowl (reserving the remaining thyme, rosemary & garlic; and all of the bay leaves).
Ingredients for the rub.
Setting yourself on a tray lined with parchment paper, gently work the curing rub into the duck legs, until they are well coated.
Ready to be combined
Arrange them neatly in a single layer, & place 4 of the thyme, rosemary & bay leaves and smashed garlic cloves onto the flesh side. This is where you can be a little creative to add your own flavour profile. I added orange peel and a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg. Press them between two sheet pans & parchment paper, weighing it down with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet.
Allow to marinate/cure for 8 hours on the counter top or 24 hours in the fridge.
When the curing time is finished, rinse the excess rub off of the legs, & pat dry. Place legs in a oven safe vessel, then carefully pour the gently warm rendered duck fat over them.
Ready for the oven
At this point, add your remaining aromatics (thyme, rosemary, garlic) and place in an oven pre-heated to 230 F. Checking it occasionally to ensure it is cooking slowly, with only gentle bubbling in the fat, cook covered for 2.5 – 3 hours.
Your duck legs will be ready when the thigh bone easily comes away from, with minimal tugging.
Warm, rich, & delicious. Perfect for fall or winter days.
It’s now ready to be enjoyed, crisped whole in a skillet and served with lentils, or as part of another dish; a salad with beets & chevre or a cassoulet. Given that confit is the traditional way to preserve duck and goose legs, you can cover them in the fat they were cooked in and if properly stored in your refrigerator, can last for several weeks.
Start with a lobe of Grade A or B Quebec Foie Gras. Either fresh or previously frozen will do nicely.
Our ingredients & equipment; previously frozen Grade A Rougie Foie Gras, brandy, sweet vermouth. Salt & pepper got cropped from the photo.
Lay the lobe of foie gras upside down on a piece of parchement paper at least 18 inches long. Let the lobe of foie gras come to just under room temperature; roughly 20 minutes outside of the fridge.
Resting at room temperature
Begin to slowly & gently work back the seam of the lobes on the under side of the foie gras.
The foie should be the consistency of slightly softened butter when working with it.
Your mission is to expose the veins that run into the lobes of the liver. They are removed to ensure a smooth and uniformly supple texture to your finished terrine.
The majority of the veins uncovered. Time to carefully remove them!
If your foie gras lobe becomes too warm and hard to work with, just put it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it up. Using something slender and pointed (I prefer a bamboo skewer but a paring knife will work as well), ever-so carefully, lift up the veins and pull them out.
The hard work is done!
Once you have removed the majority of the veins (don’t sweat the really small ones), season the opened area of the lobe you have taken the veins from with kosher salt and fine ground pepper. Drizzle 1/3 of you brandy and 1/3 of your sweet vermouth onto it as well.
Seasoned & ready for the pan
Using the parchment paper to form it, carefully roll the foie gras out into a long cylinder. Unwrap and season the top side with salt & pepper, and 1/3 more of your brandy and vermouth.
Again using the parchment paper as a guide, coax the rolled lobe into a long, lidded terrine, pressing it gently until it is evenly distributed along the length of the pan. Season lightly again, and pour the remaining 1/3 of the alcohol into the pan with the foie gras.
After baking gently in a bain-marie @ 225 F for 1 hour, place terrine in ice bath for 15 minutes then chill in the refrigerator overnight. Slice with a warm knife and serve with a baguette or crackers. Enjoy!
1 x Foie Gras lobe
60ml x Brandy, Cognac, or Armagnac
60ml x Sweet Vermouth, Port, Sherry or other sweet fortified wine
Fine Ground black pepper