Wild Game Confit
One of my favorite things to do with waterfowl (ducks and geese) is to confit the legs. Confit is an ancient technique for preserving meats in their own fat. Wild game confit should be a core cooking technique for all hunters.
It basically works like this, you put together a cure of salt and sugar with garlic and herbs and rub the leg and thigh portions. After letting them sit overnight in the fridge you rinse them off and pat them dry. Then you cover them in rendered fat and slow cook them for many hours until the meat is so soft it falls off the bone. By itself, confit meat is so delicious that it would change even the most skeptical person into a true believer of wild game.
There is one big issue with wild game confit and it’s that it requires a lot of fat. Duck and goose fat are preferable when making confit but pork fat or even olive oil can be used. I was really hoping to make confit this last hunting season using the fat of a goose I shot. However, when I rendered the goose I only got about a cup of fat. One cup isn’t enough to submerge the quarters in so I had to find another method.
The sous vide is a great way to cook things in their own juices and fats. I poured half a cup of fat in two separate bags and added the goose quarters. Cooking sous vide take a lot longer than the traditional method but the end result was the same. Delicate fall off the bone tender meat that is so ridiculously good I could have eaten both quarters in one sitting.
Wild Game Confit Uses
When you have something that tasty you want to make it last. That’s where rillettes can come in. Rillettes are just one way to use your confit. After the meat is slowly cooked in its own fat you pull the meat off the bone. You then chop the meat and mix it with some of the fat it was cooked in. Once you confit your goose legs and thighs check out my recipe for Goose Rillettes.
Recipe: Goose Confit
2 goose leg and thigh quarters
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1 tablespoon allspice berries roughly ground
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 bay leaves
Enough duck or goose fat to cover the legs
Mix together the salt and spices and rub the legs with this mixture, Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Rinse all the salt mixture from the legs and dry completely. Place the legs in a heavy ovenproof pot and cover with duck or goose fat
Place in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-6 hours, You will know the legs are done when the meat and skin have pulled away from the knuckle on the leg bone.
If you are going to store the confit you can place them in a zippered freezer bag with some of the rendered fat and put it in the freezer. Alternatively, you can pack them into a container and cover with remaining rendered fat.
When you are ready to use the legs preheat the oven to 425 and then roast them for 10 to 15 minutes until the skin gets crispy.
Don’t forget to check out my recipe for Goose Rillettes.