Valentine’s Day Dinner: Duck Confit with Pomegranate and Cauliflower
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Valentine’s Day Dinner: Duck Confit with Pomegranate and Cauliflower

I’m enchanted by Valentine’s Day not because I have a gooey romantic core, but because it’s one of the few holidays where you get to create a lavish, indulgent dinner for just yourself and only one other person. Most holidays require mountains of food for more people than we often have room for at our tables, but Valentine’s day is all about intimacy. It’s about creating something special for your relationship, and there isn’t any strong cultural traditions that prevent you from trying a new dish. It’s the one holiday that has food as a focus, but completely unbounded by traditions (with the slight exception of chocolate and wine).

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, so I’m keeping things simple and the making duck confit on Sunday, which will make Valentine’s day dinner a breeze. When I get home I’ll grab two confit legs from the fridge, toss them on a baking sheet, pop them in a hot oven to crisp them up, and then serve them on a bed of roasted cauliflower with some fresh pomegranate. Dinner will be ready in 30 minutes, and the duck will be indulgent, without being too heavy. The best part is, the entire meal is keto and paleo friendly so I can indulge without sacrificing anything.


Duck Confit with Pomegranate and Cauliflower

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Nutrition per portion

  • 1/2 Tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-6 duck legs, skin on
  • 3 springs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 springs fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 medium yellow onions, skins removed, halved
  • 1/2 cup duck fat (or 1/2 cup water)
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Mix 1/2 Tablespoon salt with 1/2 Tablespoon fresh ground pepper. Sprinkle liberally over the duck legs, covering them completely. Place in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours ahead of cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250F. Using a paring knife, stab tiny holes in the skin and all fat pockets of the duck legs. This will help the fat render and pool out.
  3. Arrange the duck legs skin side down in a deep cast iron pot. Scatter the thyme, sage, and halved onions on top of the duck legs. Pour over the duck fat, or if using, water.
  4. Place the lid on the pot, and cook for one hour in the oven. After one hour, some of the fat should be rendered, and you may need to rearrange the herbs or duck legs to get everything better submerged.
  5. Return to the oven and cook for another hour. After the second hour, flip the duck legs over, so the skin side is facing up. Return to the oven and cook two more hours.
  6. After the duck legs have cooking in the oven for 4 hours, they should be a nice dark brown color swimming in lots of rendered fat. Remove them from the oven.
  7. To cook the cauliflower, turn the oven up to 400F. Toss the cauliflower with a few spoonfuls of the rendered duck fat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 17-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cauliflower begin to turn brown.
  8. Arrange the duck legs skin side up a rimmed baking sheet (don't worry about greasing it). Set the oven to boil, and place the oven rack on the lower part of the oven. Slide the duck legs into the oven on the baking sheet, and keep a close eye on them. The skin will quickly begin to crisp up and crackle, remove them when they have developed enough color for your liking. This should only take a couple of minutes.
  9. Serve the duck legs on a bed of cauliflower with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and pomegranate.
  10. Make sure to strain and keep the rendered duck fat for future confit cooking. It's also great with roasted vegetables!
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