Twenty years ago when I returned to eating meat after being vegan for a few years, one particular animal protein called to me; duck.
What’s interesting about this choice is that I had NOT been a duck eater prior to going vegan. If anything, chicken was my go-to meat of choice.
Duck, even though it’s technically poultry, is considered a red meat – at least in the culinary world. That makes sense as the meat is dark red.
Throughout my life, I had a tendency to be anemic, and going vegan didn’t help. It didn’t matter how much lentils, black beans or spinach I ate, I still suffered with low blood iron.
But, duck on the other hand, actually helps with iron absorption and maybe that’s why I naturally craved it.
“The iron in duck is a form of iron called heme iron which is more easily absorbed by your body than is the iron in plant-based foods such as grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Furthermore, there may be an additional benefit to duck meat in the context of iron absorption — there is some evidence that muscle meats like duck help you absorb more iron from your plant-based foods. In this way, duck is an iron enhancer.”
Not only is it an iron enhancer, duck is also rich in protein, zinc and selenium. And, it’s also very, very delicious.
I still remember the first time I prepared a whole duck at home – I almost ate the entire bird in one sitting!
I don’t recommend that, but I apparently needed it at that time in my life.
Below is an easy way to prepare duck. And, if you pair it with lentils or spinach, you’ll get a healthy dose of iron.
It takes a little bit of patience, and the result is lip-smacking good.
If you cannot find duck fat (it can be expensive and hard to find), you can substitute pork fat.
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 shallots, peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 duck legs with thighs attached (pastured duck)
- 2-3 cups duck fat (can use pork fat)
- Combine salt, garlic, shallots, thyme, and black pepper.
- Coat salt/herb mixture onto the skin side of the duck legs and place into a container
- Refrigerate for 24 hours (or up to 48 hours).
- When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 225.
- Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck.
- Arrange duck pieces in a high-sided 9x9 baking dish or an deep ovenproof frying pan.
- Melt the fat in a sauce pot.
- Pour melted fat over the duck.
- The duck pieces should be completely submerged in the fat.
- Place the duck into the oven.
- Cook slow and low until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, or 3 hours.
- Remove the confit from the oven.
- You can cool it and store the duck in the fat until you’re ready to use it (it’ll keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
- The duck fat can be strained, cooled and reused.
2 tablespoons sea salt
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme or 6 tsp. dried thyme
Coarsely ground black pepper
4 duck legs with thighs attached
3-4 cups duck fat (can use pork fat)
Combine salt, garlic, shallots, thyme, and black pepper. Coat salt/herb mixture onto the duck legs in a plastic container or gallon-sized plastic Ziploc bag.
Refrigerate for 1-2 days.
When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 225.
Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck. Arrange duck pieces in a high-sided 9×9 baking dish or an ovenproof deep frying pan.
Melt the fat in a sauce pot. Pour the melted fat over the duck. The duck pieces should be completely covered by fat. Place the duck into the oven. Cook slow and low until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, or 2-3 hours.
Remove the confit from the oven.
You can cool it and store the duck in the fat until you’re ready to use it (it’ll keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
The duck fat can be strained, cooled and reused.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker, Herbalist and best-selling author. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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