Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NEW RECIPE: Duck Confit Nachos

© Constantine William Spyrou

Just like writers get writer's block at times, I went through a period of recipe writer's block this past weekend. I just couldn't think of something interesting and exciting that I wanted to create! Luckily, one of my co-workers (thanks a ton Jordan!) had a solution. I was talking to him about how I couldn't think of recipes and he asked if I wanted his Kahlua Pig Nachos recipe (which sounds dynamite, by the way). Almost immediately, a lightbulb went off in my head, and I began thinking of a nachos recipe- not with Kahlua pig, but with duck confit, one of my favorite proteins. 

Duck confit is extremely rich and buttery and delicious. Its cured or brined duck legs that are then roasted in their own fat for hours until they become fall-apart tender. The process makes them extremely delicious and flavorful. It's commonly used in French cuisine, so this will be a French spin on the warm, cheesy American classic. 

The nachos will be made with chips that come from a variation on my homemade masa recipe (see this recipe for that original recipe. Served with luscious duck confit and a warm, spicy cheese sauce, this will be a truly special nachos dish that will be an ultimate meal! 

Recipe will serve 2-3 people.

For the Chips:

2 cups organic field corn
2 tablespoons food quality cal lime
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons vegetable stock
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seed
2 teaspoons salt (separate because this is used to season the chips after cooking)
1/2 cup chopped scallions

For the Cheese Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot would be good for this, or Tabasco)
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and pepper to season

For the Duck:

4 duck legs, skin-on
1/2 gallon water
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup crushed black peppercorns
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 cup juniper berries
6 cups rendered duck fat


1. Create a brine by adding the salt, water, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, and juniper berries into a container. Add the duck legs, and let sit in a fridge for at least 24 hours.
2. Rinse your field corn. Gently heat the water for the masa in a pot and dissolve in the cal lime.
3. Add the corn and slowly bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover once it reaches a boil. Let the corn sit overnight, then drain the corn and soak in fresh water. Rinse off the skins by rubbing the corn.
4. Place the corn into a food processor with the salt and pepper and vegetable stock. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and shapeable, then set aside.
5. Place the brined duck legs into the duck fat in a roasting pan. Cover with foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 3 1/2 hours. Let cool, then pull the duck meat off of the bone and set aside.
6. In a large pot, melt the butter and stir in the flour to form a blond roux. Add the milk and stir until combined. Add the cheeses a little at a time until all fully incorporated and melted. Stir in the hot sauce and cumin, and let sit for another 20 minutes on low heat.
6. Form the masa into 8-inch diameter rounds, and cut into eight pieces. Heat up about a quart of canola oil in a pot, and fry the chips until golden brown. Just before they come out, toss in the rosemary and thyme sprigs to infuse the flavor into the chips.
7. When the chips come out, toss with the cumin seed and salt and set aside to drain.
8. In serving dishes/bowls, layer the chips on the bottom. Add the cheese sauce over the top, and sprinkle the duck confit meat over the chips. Garnish with the chopped scallions.

There is NOTHING like having your own homemade chips from scratch, so using the masa recipe is worth it! You can always just purchase tortillas and fry them to make chips, but the flavor won't be as good as making it at home. 

Anyhow, the richness of the duck and cheese sauce is perfectly cut by the scallion in this dish, and the chips add a whole other layer of texture that just makes these super awesome nachos!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change! If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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