This is a huge hit for dinner parties and while it does take some time to make, it is actually is not that labour intensive. It also freezes beautifully in individual containers for easy weeknight meals.
9 to 12 confit de cuisse de canard (1.5 per person). You can use either canned confit de cuisse de canard or pre-packaged cooked cuisse directly from the butcher, just let it come to room temperature, so it is easier to pull apart. Pour off any duck fat and store in a mason jar for future use (like duck fat-thyme roasted potatoes).
For the stock
The bones and cartilage of the cuisse 1 onion, halved
1 bay leaf
10 whole peppercorns
5g of sea salt
For the reduction and gravy
1 large yellow onion, diced finely
3 carrots, diced finely
60g of flour /or corn starch
700ml of quality duck stock (see above)
For the mashed potatoes
2 kgs of potatoes (2 to 3 potatoes per person)
125g of shredded Comté
125g of shredded Emmental
1 beaten egg
125g of shredded Parmesan
15ml of reserved liquid duck fat
110ml of milk or cream
Using your fingers gently remove the skin of the duck, place in a separate bowl. Then break apart the duck into smaller bite size pieces, carefully separating any bones and cartilage and keeping those in a separate bowl.
Place the duck skin into a frying pan and heat until brown and golden crispy. Carefully drain of the grease at least twice, while frying. Reserve the fat for future uses. Set the skin aside. Once cooled, roughly chop into small pieces.
Place the bones and cartilage in the same frying pan and heat them until they start to brown. Then place them in a stock pan, along with bay, salt and pepper, a halved whole onion and 2 carrots cut in two. Cover, bring to a steady boil for 1 to 2 hours, replenishing with hot water as need, until bones and cartilage break down and begin to dissolve. You could add extra pre-made bouillon as well.
Chop the potatoes into small pieces and bring to a boil. Add salt.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and place in large metal bowl. Mash with hand masher. Then transfer to hand mixture or robot mixer; add 4 tablespoons of reserved duck fat, the comté and emmental cheeses, the milk or cream, along with the salt and freshly ground pepper. And finally add the beaten egg mixing quickly to ensure it does not cook. Cover and keep aside.
Throw a minced large onion into the same pan that you cooked the skin in, along with the minced carrots. Fry on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add 1 cup of aged leftover red wine and deglaze until there is barely any liquid left. Then add two tablespoons of flour and mix well, add the reserved duck stock and bring to a good simmer. Place two tablespoons of flour with some water in a mason jar and shake vigorously until all powder is dissolved. Add to sauce and mix well. The sauce should begin to thicken immediately. Add half of the reserved meat to the sauce and mix well.
Using a baking tin, spread the other half of the meat over the entire bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the chopped duck skin and then pour the gravy/meat mixture over it. Mix well and smooth out. Begin adding large spoonful of the mashed potatoes across the tin to ensure evenness with the meat. Using slightly wet hands, smooth the potatoes to ensure that the entire dish is covered and no liquid can get out.
Run a fork across the top to create small ridges, paint 2 tablespoons of duck fat across these ridges. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and the remaining Parmesan. Bake at 375°C or 177°F for 45 until golden brown and bubbling.
Let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a light green salad and a light red wine.
By Leo Teatero