I've been eating a lot of food out of cans over the past two or three weeks. Strange, isn't it? I love to cook, but I also like to try foods in a lot of different forms and packages to see if they're good. It's a kind of a sanity check to see how your own from-scratch cooking compares.
Of course, one of the foods I've bought in cans (or tins, if you prefer) is slow-cooked duck legs packed in southwestern France. They are kind of a luxury item — not on the scale of duck foie gras (fattened liver), but not cheap either. I showed a photo of the duck legs in my blog post yesterday. Above is the can our New Year's Day duck came in. Below is another brand I bought to have later, in the spring.
One reason I've bought duck legs in cans is because I haven't found them lately in the shrink-wrap (sous-vide) packaging they often are sold in here in France. What's the difference, really, between canned products and the trendy sous-vide packs? I have to admit that I've also been attracted to the big cans of canard confit because they've been on sale at about half-price (seven to eight euros for a can containing four or five nice plump duck leg-and-thigh pieces).
Here's the label in English. It also gives cooking instructions. You can use the duck legs in cassoulet (with white beans, etc.) or serve them with lentils. Or with Sarlat-style potatoes, which are cooked in duck fat. Or other ways — all delicious, I'm sure.
I made my "fusion" cassoulet-style Jan. 1, 2017, dinner using black-eyed peas and duck legs. There are cultural reasons for that — superstitions about what will bring good luck for the new year — but also personal preferences. I would be unhappy with a black-eyed-pea-free diet. I guess it's partly what you grew up with. But if you want to go all the way in France, you can just buy your cassoulet in a can (above). It can be very good (and not cheap) if you buy the real thing, cooked and canned in SW France and containing white beans (think of Italian cannellini beans — white kidney beans), duck confit, and Toulouse sausages.
This year, I cooked my black-eyes with smoked duck lardons. Normally, lardons are chunks of what is called lard in France, which has not much to do with American lard (saindoux). French lard would go by the names bacon or pork belly in the U.S. But lardons are a concept nowadays as much as a specific product in France. They are little chunks of meat, often smoked or brined, that go into vegetable dishes, stews, omelets, or quiches as a flavor ingredient. There are chicken, turkey, and duck lardons on the shelves of the supermarkets here in France.
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I bet those black eyed peas with lardons were wonderful.ReplyDelete
I would be shocked to find cans of confit de canard in the States. But I've never looked for them.
I went to Intermarché this morning, and I ended up at the check-out stand with a big can of (more) cuisses de canard confites for about 8.50 euros, and a big can of cassoulet au confit de canard avec saucisses de Toulouse for less than 8 euros. We will keep the cans in our pantry until the day comes when we don't have time to cook a "real" lunch.Delete
and the picard duck confit is fantasticReplyDelete
I wish we had a Picard store nearby. The 45-mile roundtrip to Romo is a little much. There's an empty grocery store in Saint-Aignan that would be a perfect Picard, and I would be thrilled.Delete
I would do that drive and more to find duck hereDelete
This post is making me homesick for a browse in an Intermarché. Such wonderful products you have there.ReplyDelete
Our Intermarché has really improved over the past 6 to 8 months. I have a vivid memory of an Intermarché in a village called Mallemort, between Cavaillon and Aix-en-Provence, near where Walt and I rented our first ever gîte rural back in 1993. Compared to the supermarkets where we shopped in San Francisco, that Intermarché was a treasure trove of real, rustic, natural foods. The cheeses! The produce! It was a different world, and I was stunned by it. We stayed in that area for two weeks, and we shopped in Mallemort every second or third day. Our Saint-Aignan-area Intermarché is not quite as distinctive and other-worldly — all of France has changed and modernized a lot in 23 years — but there's something about it that brings back memories of Mallmort in Provence.Delete
We never buy canned food at home, but then again there is nothing like these canned duck items in the US. Imagine a canned product here where the only ingredients are duck, duck fat and salt. Well, at least I'm usually able to buy fresh duck legs, and I make a "quick" version of confit that takes 3 hours and is fantastic.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean. It's good that you can get duck there in Maine. A lot of Americans are not so lucky. Most have probably never tasted duck — much less confit.Delete
Oh wow Ken. Wishing I was there to share some confit with you and browse in the Intermarche.ReplyDelete
Hope all is well with you and L. in your new house and town.Delete