Duck confit with olive leaf

'Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things'

There is a great herb store in Melbourne called Gewűrzhaus. I came across them when they first opened on Lygon Street. I have been very glad that, they have since opened other stores around Melbourne and, most helpfully for me, an online store. I am not a fan of shopping online, especially not for something as sensual as spices. But the Lygon Street store bought me such joy and excitement: the intoxicating smell; the rows and rows of bulk glass bins of bulk herbs, spices and salts; and the range of other fantastic and fanciful kitchen offerings. It is only with this experience in mind that I can buy from them online. In so doing, I gain access to a range of stock that I would otherwise only be able to dream of. In-store, you have the choice of buying a paperbag full of as much or as little of your selection. Mail-order spices all come in beautiful, signature brown glass jars that must surely keep the contents fresher than the clear glass equivalents in the supermarket. I want to replace my mish-mash spice shelf with these jars. As I’ve been running out of a herb that I hurriedly purchased in either a clear glass jar or a plastic bag, I have been replacing it with a Gewűrzhaus jar. The spices are consistently of the highest quality, and it’s so fun getting a little package in the mail. I have been getting to the end of my supply of ground anise lately and used it as an excuse to stock up on a range of exciting goodies. I included a jar of organic olive leave in my order. In addition to its medicinal qualities, they tell me it’s used in Italian cuisine, such as olive leaf roasted duck. I liked the sound of that! I dreamed of roasting my duck with a crispy crust of the earthy, herbaceous, woody olive leaf, but realised a roast duck was just too much. Instead, I used it to marinate/cure my marylands for a duck confit.

Serves 2

2   duck marylands
1 tablespoons olive leaf
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup duck fat, melted

Preparation: In a zip lock bag, combine olive leaf, thyme, pepper and salt. Add duck marylands and coat thoroughly. Refrigerate, turning at least once, overnight.

To confit the duck: Under cold running water, thoroughly wash the duck, removing all marinade/curing mixture. Arrange the marylands in an oven bag and pour in the duck fat. Remove as many air bubbles from the bag as possible and tie the bag closed (either with the bag tie attached, or some string). Place the bag in a deep frypan, with the top of the bag overhanging, so there is no risk of water entering the bag. Fill the pan with water, ensuring the duck is fully submerged, and cover pan with the lid. (I placed a metal measuring cup on top of the meat, which forced the bag down when I put the lid on the pan.)

Duck confit, before crisping the skin

Put the pan on a low heat, so the water is only just simmering, and cook for approx 2 hours. (I took mine off the heat when the leg meat broke away from the lower tendon.) Turn off the heat. Leave to cool in the pan.

To serve: If you want to serve the duck straight away, remove them from the fat, and crisp the skin in a hot oven. If you want to keep the confit dinner later in the week, remove the duck and trim/French the bones. Place the marylands in a new zip lock bag. Strain the cooking fat and juice and pour into bag. Remove as much air as possible and refrigerate for up to three days, or freeze till required.

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