I decided to indulge and expand my culinary skills by making the most of a nice 4 lb Aaron's duck for The Bride and myself, over the past two weekends. The two main goals were to do a "duck confit" and a "seared breast of duck".
I am happy to report that everything was a great success!
First, after defrosting and butchering the duck I had two nice breasts, two leg/thigh pieces and two wing sections for confit, and bones for stock.
For duck confit, I had about a cup of fat from all the skin, which I had to slowly render and strain. I also had to macerate the duck pieces in a salt & sugar mixture for 24 hours. I used about 1/4 cup salt and 3/4 cup sugar, along with some garlic and thyme sprigs. Then the duck pieces are slowly cooked in the fat for about 3 1/2 hours, then put in the fridge for at least a few days (We saved it for a full week).
On the first Sunday I made a 'pan seared duck breast with plum cognac sauce', which I put over wine-braised red cabbage.
The next weekend we enjoyed the duck confit plus potato sauteed in duck fat and swiss chard(definitely not a low-cholesterol meal). The confit was FANTASTIC, and somehow the maceration drew out lots of the salt and it was more sweet and melting rather than very salty like the rest of the duck.
We also have two containers of strong duck stock that The Bride simmered down, and I enjoyed a mid-week "peasant meal" nibbling on the various meat from the stock simmering.
Not bad -- five meals from a $20 duck, and stock to boot.