Gascony, is a very ducky area. Typical dishes such as Cassoulet, and Confit Canard are synonymous with the area. Friends and neighbours here make their confit, which has been used as a way of preserving food for hundreds of years.
To modern pallets, preserving in fat can be a difficult sell and I suppose I am from the school of those who would not normally enjoy that kind of thing. My dad and grandad Tiddler used to enjoy the delights of ‘dripping’ toast, but it was not something I shared with them!
However, I am a convert to the confit duck, there are so many ways in which I adore it. Firstly, it’s delicious, in it’s crispy moist unctuousness, secondly, it is absolutely the local dish in this place that we have come to love and thirdly, it can be a ‘ready meal’.
Friends and neighbours here often gift us a jar of duck, which is lovingly made and a real treat. You can also buy it in jars and tins in the supermarket and whilst that seemed a little alien to us at first – canned food??- We have tried many different brands and have not had a bad one yet. Rocket likes to have a little French apperatif called Pastis, when we are preparing our dinner!
Locally it will be served with potatoes fried or roasted in the excess duck fat and something piquant and zingy like, pickled red cabbage or a crisp green salad with a vinaigrette, which will cut through the duck richness very well.
I’m not an expert on local history but have learnt something about it. This article is a great one for summing things up though..
In a land locked area such us this, many of the traditional foods are very hearty and include lots of duck and pork as well as lots of veg.
The Gascon paradox is that the people of Gascony enjoy the lowest levels of heart disease in Europe, and traditionally eat a diet high in duck and goose fat, as well as plenty of pork. So it’s not all bad news….
I picked up a can of confit duck for our supper the other night, we parboiled then roasted the potatoes in the excess fat from the tin after we had scrapped the fat off the duck thighs and placed them into a roasting dish to cook on high heat. These are already entirely cooked, the aim here is to warm the pieces while crisping the skin.
We know this will be the first dish on the menu when Rocket’s brother, Slippers and our sister in law, Tigger arrive with us next week. It could not be easier and if you have never tried it and are of the carnivorous persuasion don’t duck the issue any longer – it’s a MUST!