We are now living through what is supposed to be the tail end of our long-running heat wave, so my wife Jan and I continue to minimize the use of our oven and stove top, to avoid making the house any hotter than it already is. Today’s brain wave was to wheel out the charcoal grill to crisp up our confit de canard — and it worked.
If you’ve missed my previous postings on confit, I’ll just note briefly that we buy our duck legs in the supermarket, already slow-cooked in duck fat and then sealed in plastic. Normally we heat them in a pan or the microwave to melt off the exterior fat, and then finish them in a very hot oven for 20 or 25 minutes, to get the skin nice and golden and crispy. But a hot oven means a hot kitchen.
To use the grill for the duck legs, I first moved the charcoal briquettes to one side of the Weber; that way, I could either put the legs directly over the charcoal, or off to one side. When I started the legs, they looked like this:
When I was cooking the legs with the skin side up, I left them alone a bit too long over the charcoal, and one of the legs (at the top of the photo below) got a bit singed as the dripping fat flared up. Ah well, these things happen. Here’s how they looked at that stage:
To complete the whole process, I moved the legs away from the direct heat of the charcoal and put the lid on the barbecue so that it acted like an oven. Once I thought the legs seemed hot enough, with enough fat melted off, I finished them directly over the charcoal — but I turned them frequently so they didn’t burn. They wound up looking like this:
Then I carried them into the house, where Jan had the rest of the lunch ready for us. And here’s my plate, complete with whipped potatoes, green beans, and red currant jelly to accompany the duck:
For dessert, we had those small but delicious strawberries, mara des bois. Jan had bought them this morning in the weekly Cénac market — which, by the way, was a complete mad house. This is the absolute peak of the tourist season, and if the vacationers weren’t in the market, they were trying to park at the Shopi supermarket up the road. Not a pretty picture.