Monday, January 5, 2009

Duck Confit Sous Vide

I think I can be pretty annoying sometimes in the kitchen. I used to ask a former chef at Lacroix all the time, if he would show me how to break down meat and poultry. I think it might have gotten to the point where he purposely did his butchering before I got there. Anyway, one day he was showing me how to break down a chicken. He cut down the side, popping the joint, and taking the legs off. He then removed the wings. He began to separate the breast, then stopped, and told me that he was cutting down along the keel bone that runs between the two breasts.


I asked the same chef two weeks later to once again show me how to break down poultry. He cut down the side, popping the joint and taking the legs off. He then removed the wings. He began to separate the breast, then stopped, and asked me what bone he was cutting along. I couldn't remember. He was disappointed. He told me it was the keel bone, then went along breaking down the bird. He left Lacroix to work at another restaurant not long after.

I recently bought a whole duck from the farmer's market, with full intentions of utilizing the legs for confit. I placed the duck on the cutting board in front of me. I thought back to my lessons with the chef. I cut down the side, popping the joint and taking the legs off. I then removed the wings. I began to separate the breast, then stopped. I wished the chef was there, so I could proudly declare "Right now I'm cutting down along the keel bone" making sure to accentuate the keel. Alas, he wasn't. I was in the kitchen alone with a dead duck, so I just thought it in my head, and continued to cut along the ribs and remove the breast.

I cured the legs in salt, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn then cooked them for 8 hours at 180 in a plastic bag with some duck fat before crisping up the skin in a hot pan. It came out incredible.
I saved the keel bone, along with the rest of the body, for stock.

3 comments:

Terry said...

Great post! Totally reminded me of Julie in the Julie/Julia project.

allison said...

The keel is also the spine of a boat, running down the middle.

shawn said...

super post. Your missing chef would be so proud.
Which came first, the chicken keel bone, or ship keel? Maybe it helps poultry fly and float straight too!