Duck and Cover (With Pasta)
You didn’t think I made duck confit just to eat a delicious confit dinner, did you? The best part of duck confit is the leftovers! I had a recipe in mind from Florence Fabricant of the NY Times (although she says, “Do not even think of making duck confit from scratch. Buy it prepared, from a fancy food shop or online.” We scoff at her! Hah!).
Unlike the confit itself, leftover confit makes for a fabulous week night meal. This pasta dish was 30 minutes, tops. And it had some really unusual and interesting flavors, like fresh ginger and cardamom. I’ve had cardamom completely unopened in the cabinet for 2 years! Who knew it was so good? Other than, say, most of Asia and Guatemala.
As an aside, I know you’re supposed to replace your spices every few months because they lose their ability to flavor dishes (or so they say!) but who does that in real life? Spices are so expensive! I use fresh herbs when possible but I can’t see myself throwing out (even old) spices.
I’ve tweaked this recipe a bit so that it suited me, and I trust you may do the same. I might try it with chicken sometime, as chicken legs are both cheaper and easier to prepare than duck confit. So maybe the title of this post should be “duck and cover (unless you’re chicken).” Oh bad puns, will I never tire of you?
Leftover Duck Confit with Pasta
Serves 2-3 (mostly depending on how accurately you measured the pasta! I always guess)
1/2 lb short pasta (whole wheat would work well here) like penne or strozzapreti
2 legs of duck confit
3 tablespoons duck fat from said confit
2 cups chicken broth
3 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
≈1/2 lb mixed trumpet royale and shiitake mushrooms (or, you know, whatever you prefer)
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp ground cardamom
parmesan (the original recipe called for pecorino but I hate pecorino) for grating
Step 1) Set a pot of salted water boiling. Duh.
Step 2) Remove the skin and bones from the confit. Pull the meat apart into small chunks. You could chop it but I like the texture this way better.
Step 3) Melt the fat over low/medium-low heat. Add the chopped shallots, garlic, and ginger.
Step 4) When that’s soft, add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms have wilted a bit. Now add the cardamom and the duck, and stir that up for a minute.
Step 5) pour in 1 cup of broth and let that reduce.
Step 7) Add the second cup of broth and let that simmer and reduce. My goal was to have enough liquid to coat the pasta, so about 3/4 of a cup.
Step 8) Mix in the perfectly cooked al dente pasta, grate some cheese over it, and enjoy!
p.s. this recipe originally called for a few leaves of chopped mint over it. I didn’t have any. Whoops. In retropsect, I’d rather have put some parsley over it though, but maybe you’d like to try the mint out and see how it goes?
Here is the final product, in all its glory:
As I wrote earlier, I think this was a great recipe. I was completely not used to tasting flavors like that in a pasta dish. Obviously, this is not your standard Italian fare, but it’s definitely good to branch out!
I can’t wait to see if this also tastes good with chicken!