A while back, a bunch of us got together to make a huge batch of duck confit. Several weeks later, the duck confit was ready to go, so everyone gathered at our place last weekend for another meal celebrating all things duck. Our first meal focused on a lot of the fresher preparations for duck (roasted whole duck, pan roasted duck breast, duck sausage, and duck tartare), whereas this meal relied on preserved or secondary preparations such as confit, prosciutto, stock, and fat that were all byproducts of our earlier meeting. This type of food has a distinctly fall/winter feel to it, and the weather obliged by interrupting what had been a string of nice spring days with a cold, dreary, rainy day. Perfect for cassoulet.
The amount of food that ended up on our table was reminiscent of a Thanksgiving feast, only better. Duck clearly dominates turkey in every respect...I might have to think about just substituting duck for turkey next Thanksgiving. You can see the menu above, and many pictures of the preparation and final product follow.
For the most part, I didn't do too much more than prep ingredients, clean dishes, and ensure a healthy flow of drinks for the several cooks that were buzzing around the kitchen. We started out by preparing some of the non-duck ingredients for the cassoulet. This involved braising lamb and making sausage.
As if this whole meal wasn't ambitious enough, we decided to make two different types of sausage: one with pork, the other with rabbit. I had never tried to debone a rabbit before. It's nearly impossible.
Once these ingredients were ready to go, Dara mixed them together into a big pot along with some whole legs of duck confit...
...and we let it bake in the oven until it looked like this.
Meanwhile, we took some of those duck legs, and shredded them up for a couple of other dishes.
First, we had a frisee salad with poach duck eggs, croutons cooked in duck fat, and some crisped up duck confit served on the side. Here's Mike getting some duck eggs ready for poaching
Next, we (and by we, I mean Anna) made a pizza with duck confit, fig spread, and Morbier cheese. This was a perfect flavor combination. Here it is in construction
And here it is fresh out of the oven.
For our last "starter" we reserved a bit of the shredded duck confit to be served with steamed Chinese buns
and various accoutrements like carrot, cucumber, scallions, hoisin, and hot sauce.
The risotto was cooked with squash and duck stock and finished with a little truffle salt.In the end, I think we needed about twice as many people to eat all of the food that we had.