Turkey Confit

If you don’t care to break down your own turkey, it’s easy enough to ask your butcher to provide these pieces for you.  I know its not common to have 4 cups of rendered fat hanging around most households, but again, your butcher can provide this for you. I used pork fat rendered from a whole pig broken down last winter.  It was deeelicious.  Lard can be found in either the baking or butter section of your grocery store.

If you would like breast meat as well, you have a couple of options.  One is to confit both breasts, bone on, with everything else.  The directions and timing would remain the same.  The other is to brine the breast and roast it while the rest is heating up and skin crisping.  That recipe is part of today’s Brined Turkey Breast column in the PPH.  The third option is to simply marinate it in something sagey, garlicky and delicious and roast it again while the confit is crisping up.

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper
5 tablespoons minced sage and rosemary
legs, wings and thighs from a 12 to 14 pound turkey
4 cups duck fat, port fat or lard

Pulverize the salt, pepper and herbs in a food processor or spice grinder.  Rub the entire exterior of the turkey pieces and place on a platter with sides high enough to catch any liquid that will drain from the turkey.  Do not cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place the turkey and fat in a Dutch oven or other oven proof pot with lid.  Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the meat is so tender it is nearly (but not) falling off the bones.

At this point you can remove the turkey and crisp up the skin right away.  Even better is to cool the turkey completely.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use it and then bake it for an hour on a roasting pan.  Serve immediately and enjoy how the skin is crispy and the meat just falls off the bone.

Serves 6 to 8

Happy Turkey Day to you all!

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    November 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    It should be noted that while many myths surround the unhealthiness of lard, it is actually a wonderful way to get many trace vitamins into your diet.

    The flip side of that, is that if you buy lard at the grocery store, it will suffer from the same issues as commercially cured meats. Nitrates, preservatives and anything unhealthy the animals were eating before their short lives were over will also wind up in there. While it is imminently impractical, the best thing to do is to find fatback from a slaughterhouse or butcher and know where you meat has come from…

  • Annie Mahle
    November 24, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Imminently impractical is right, but really, you are correct, it’s the best way to go. Thanks for your addition!

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