So you know how I roasted a duck on Thanksgiving? Well, one of the wonderful things about roasting a whole duck is that you get to keep all the wonderful duck fat that renders into the pan as the duck slowly roasts. I got almost two cups worth from just one duck.
Chefs call duck fat “liquid gold,” and for good reason. Duck fat is just magical. I personally love lots of different types of animal fat, including lard and tallow, but duck fat is a little different and the only way I can think to describe it is unctuous. You can buy duck fat in stores like Whole Foods, and also online from a few sources, like Fatworks. (I have not personally tried that brand, but I’m sure it is wonderful as the company has very high standards.)
The french term “confit” means to cook an item slowly in fat. This was originally a method used to preserve food before the time of modern refrigeration, but great chefs still use this technique because it yields delicious results. If you frequent fancy-schmancy restaurants you have probably seen duck confit on a menu or two, which is simple duck leg quarters, cured and then slowly cooked in a bath of duck fat at a low temperature. Chefs can actually use the duck fat over and over, and this cooking technique also is a natural way of preserving the duck meat, so that it naturally has a longer shelf life.
Anyway, I decided to do the same thing with garlic cloves. I bought 3 packages of already peeled organic garlic cloves from Whole Foods because I detest peeling garlic. I’ve also seen already peeled garlic at Trader Joe’s, and every once in a while at bulk stores like Costco. I estimate that each package of peeled garlic contains about 90 cloves, and since I cooked three it was probably around 270ish cloves. It sounds like a lot, but once they cook down, the garlic cloves all fit into a 16 oz mason jar, and this method of slow roasting the garlic in duck fat preserves the garlic, so it will keep for a couple of months in your fridge… if it lasts that long.
The garlic cloves themselves become incredibly sweet and caramelized. If you are a garlic lover, you can eat them whole. My husband eats them by the forkfull. But this garlic confit can be used in so many different ways, adding depth of flavor to sauces, dressings, soups, and literally almost anywhere you would use garlic. Top a grilled steak or pork chop with a spoonful of the cloves, and the heat from the meat will practically melt the garlic confit onto your dinner. Or serve in a small bowl with a charcuterie and cheese spread to elevate your appetizers to chef status. If you love garlic as much as me and my husband do, the possibilities are literally endless.
If you don’t want to roast your own duck first, you can use store bought duck fat, or you could probably also use lard or tallow. If for some reason you don’t want to use an animal fat, you could probably use coconut oil or avocado oil. I have seen many recipes that use olive oil, but there is some debate as to if olive oil should really be heated, so I’ll leave that decision up to you. But I prefer duck fat. It’s amazing, and amazingly simple.
DUCK FAT GARLIC CONFIT
PREP TIME2 minsCOOK TIME60 minsTOTAL TIME1 hour 2 mins Author: KatyINGREDIENTS
- 250-270 peeled garlic cloves
- 2 cups of duck fat
- Turn the oven to 300.
- In a non-reactive baking dish, stir together the duck fat and the garlic cloves. Duck fat starts to soften pretty quickly, so there isn’t much of a need to melt the duck fat first. Just make sure all the garlic cloves are coated in the fat.
- Slowly roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cloves, stirring a few times while cooking. The cloves should be swimming in the fat, but they don’t have to be completely submerged, as long as you stir just a few times.
- The cloves are done when they have turned a very light golden brown.
- Remove the caramelized garlic from the duck fat with a slotted spoon and store in the fridge in a glass jar. You can keep the duck fat and re-use it.