Crispy duck confit with pickled raisins

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I was ecstatic to find this recipe in a recent issue of Bon Appétit. Confit de canard is one of my all-time favorite French recipes, but one that seemed too complicated, expensive and time-consuming to try and make at home. For years now I’ve been perfectly happy buying my duck confit in big, round cans, but I knew that it could clearly be so much better. A good duck confit is tender and falling off the bone, with a crisp, perfect, browned skin. Obviously the canned alternative can’t get the skin right, offering rather a very unappetizing, fat-soaked white mass of skin that is immediately discarded before serving. This recipe, which is genius because it doesn’t require you to buy additional duck fat, gets the skin so right that it was basically my favorite part of the meal.

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For me, the pickled raisins were also the perfect sweet and spicy touche finale to the salty duck meat. I served the duck with a simple mashed potato that I dressed up slightly by mixing in the nearly burnt bits of garlic and herbs that were left over from the duck. It was one of the best fall meals I’ve had so far, and if you’re willing to be patient (I made the duck over two days, but start to finish it should take about five hours!), you can enjoy it as well!

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Crispy duck confit with pickled raisins
Recipe from Bon Appétit

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 duck drumsticks
Salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence

1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

This recipe is incredibly easy, but will take some time. You can easily make this over two days (or more), which is what I’d recommend.

Start with your duck (you’ll need at least four hours for this step, but none of that is active time). Preheat your oven to 250°. Prick the skin of your drumsticks all over with a sharp knife. Thinly slice the garlic and rub it all over the skin side of the duck. Season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and herbes de provence and place skin-side down in a baking dish. Add about 1/4 cup of water, cover with foil or a lid, and place in the oven.

You’ll want to cook the duck for 2-2 1/2 hours in order to render as much of the fat as possible. Once you’ve got a decent amount of fat, turn the duck over, placing the meat side in the melted duck fat. Cover and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours longer. If you want, you can remove the duck from the oven now, let it cool down and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat it (you’ll need less than an hour to finish it off).

If you’ve refrigerated the duck, place it in the oven (250°) just long enough to melt the fat. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Remove the duck with tongs and set aside. Pour out the fat through a strainer, into a recipient with a lid (you’ll want to save it to make things like potatoes fried in duck fat later!). Reserve the browned bits of garlic if you like (mine were stirred into the mashed potatoes I served with the duck).

Place the duck back in the baking dish, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the skin is perfectly brown and crisp.

While the duck is cooking, prepare the raisins. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, wine vinegar, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water until boiling. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and let the sauce reduce slightly. Add the raisins, remove from heat and let cool. Serve over the duck.

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