It’s raining cats and dogs here in northern California. After several years of drought, we really need the rain. But we are not used to staying inside—it’s California after all where the sun always shines. I enjoy the rain, but I don’t like the wind. Being forced to stay inside, I cleaned out some old drawers and sorted through old cards and photos. It was easy to throw away most of them. Just as it was easy to say goodbye to 2022. My guest room is almost ready for my niece and her family from Germany. I can’t wait to see them, especially my 18-month-old little grandniece. She is pure sunshine and has a special place in my heart.
It was my turn this month to host our book club meeting, and since it was also my girlfriend’s birthday, she asked me if I would make duck confit. I was happy to oblige, especially as we have known each other for over 30 years. I doubled the recipe, so I and had four duck legs left the next day. I decided to make one of my favorite old standby recipes. It turns the duck legs into a rustic country peasant dish, hardy and--perfect for a rainy day and a country girl like me. The only thing I don’t like about this recipe is the smell of cooking cabbage.
Like so many of my recipes, this is an old one from Gourmet magazine. You do not need to follow the recipe exactly, so you can use less or more cabbage or duck legs. I added some red peppers that I had in my fridge. I also added some jellied duck stock from cooking the legs. I cut the amount of noodles to 9 ounces, even though the original recipe called for one pound. For the pasta, I used fusilli noodles. The original recipe called for campanelle (bell shaped pasta) or garganelli. And please, do not skip turning the skin into cracklings. It’s ten times better than bacon, trust me. You can also buy confit duck legs if they are available.
Recipe for Pasta with Duck Confit and Cabbbage
4 confit duck legs (about 8 ounces)
2 large white onions (about four cups)
1 (1 ½ -lb) savory cabbage (about 8 cups)
1 red pepper (optional)
¼ cup dry white wine
9 ounces fusilli pasta
1 TBS butter
2 TBS chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat oil in a large frying pan and sear the duck legs skin down until some of the fat is rendered and the skin is golden (6-8) minutes. When the duck legs are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and scrape off any visible fat. Return the skin to the frying pan and cook over moderate heat, occasionally pressing down on the skin until the fat is rendered and the skin has turned into golden crisp cracklings (about 5 minutes). Drain the cracklings on a paper towel and tear into small pieces. Pull duck meat from the legs into roughly ¼-inch-thick pieces.
Reserve 2-3 TBS of duck fat in the frying pan. Peel and halve the onions, then cut them into ¼ inch thick slices (about 4 cups). Sauté them in the duck fat, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Clean and chop the red pepper into 2-inch pieces, and then add it to the onion, cooking the mixture for several minutes. In the meantime, clean and core the cabbage and cut it into 2-inch pieces. Add the cabbage and ½ tsp salt to the onions, stirring and turning for about 5 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add the wine and cook until evaporated for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer (covered) for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cabbage should be very tender. While the cabbage simmers, cook the pasta. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of pasta water. Stir the cabbage mixture with the pasta either in the pasta pot or frying pan (depending on the size of your frying pan). Add the butter and shredded duck with the cracklings, and some pasta water if the pasta looks dry. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley. This dish tastes just as good the next day.
Recipe from Gourmet magazine
Prepared by the Sunnycovechef.com
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Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.