Fully admitting being long past the coolest that I have ever been and not even claiming that I was ever that cool to begin with, in my hey day, I could pass myself off as relatively cool. Large music collection, a dog, and a working knowledge of independent film – Jim Jarmusch films especially. One of my favorite Jarmusch films, “Coffee and Cigarettes” is a collection of short stories over … well, coffee and cigarettes.
When a friend of the blog reached out for ideas a few months ago on what to do with some high quality loose tobacco, there were a few ideas that floated around. The key to this idea, duck confit cured with coffee and tobacco, is that said friend of the blog is a coffee roaster. Coffee and cigarettes. Well in this case, I used loose tobacco. Not cherry or any of the fruity, flavored tobacco, but straight up tobacco. Is it good? I have no idea. Why do I not know? Confession – I have never smoked a cigarette.
With that in mind, step one was trying to figure out the flavors that might come from infusing the duck confit with two seemingly bitter flavors. Only because I had loads of it and thought that the sweetness might take some of the bitterness down, I added a little anise hyssop from our herb box. The sweet and unique anise flavors would add complexity and, as mentioned above, smooth the rough edges created by the coffee and tobacco.
After muddling the Yirgacheffe coffee, the tobacco, and the anise hyssop with sea salt and a pinch of pink salt, I took a long whiff trying to pin down the flavors. The smells were straight-up Yoohoo. It was like a soft, floral chocolate milk. I was totally surprised, but knowing that I really like duck and chocolate, I was really kind of geeked out about it.
Once the duck had cured for a few days, I rinsed it, dried it, and submerged it in duck fat in the oven. After hours in a low oven, I transferred the legs to a crock and covered it in the confit liquids. Letting the legs ripen for a month under the duck fat, I finally cracked them out of their adipose tomb and crisped them in a hot oven.
Oddly, the chocolate milk flavors were still in full effect matching, note for note, the rich, savory flavors of duck confit. It certainly would not fall under the traditional flavors of duck confit, which I find to be delicious and extremely satisfying, but the flavors are tremendously interesting. Not knowing if there are chemical implications of curing with nicotine-laden tobacco and caffeine-laden coffee beans, I certainly felt a bit of a rush upon tasting the confit.
As a side note, given my revised lifestyle which includes moderation, I had leftovers that were immediately turned into Coffee & Cigarettes Duck Rillettes – saved for a later date.
Coffee and Cigarettes Duck Confit
- 2 duck leg quarters
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon loose tobacco
- Leaves from 2 sprigs of anise hyssop
- 20 grams sea salt
- Pinch of pink salt
- Duck fat
Step one: Grind coffee. Add remaining cure ingredients and make sure that duck legs are covered with cure completely for 48 hours.
Step two: Rinse duck legs and let dry overnight.
Step three: In a preheated 200 degree oven, submerge legs in fat overnight. Transfer legs and fat to ceramic container. Make sure legs are submerged. Let ripen for longer than two weeks.
Step four: In a 400 degree oven, cook legs until skin is crispy.