Slow Days: Turkey Leg Confit

INTRO: People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Last Thanksgiving, since neither of our sons could/would travel due to Covid, we were faced with a sad culinary conundrum: what form of turkey to serve to only two people??? A whole turkey was out since the smallest ones were in high demand. We could make our usual Turkey Roulade, but even that served three generously for more than one meal. Happily, I heard of doing confit treatment to turkey and I found this recipe by André Baranowski on Saveur.com. Since we were accustomed to preparing a duck confit, this seemed like a great idea. As I always do, I cross-referenced to see if there were any other hints or refinements to include. Here is my synthesis. HINT: If preparing for Thanksgiving, start 5-7 days ahead. This takes a short amount of working time during two days at the start, then a wait of 5-7 days before eating.

2 legs from a 15# TurkeyDAY 1  Pat dry the turkey legs. Transfer turkey to a 9”x5”x4” loaf pan
½ tsp. rubbed sage
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tbsp Kosher salt  generous grind of black pepper
DAY 1 SEASON AND COOL In a spice grinder, grind the herbs to powder. Rub turkey with herb/salt and chill overnight, loosely covered.
2-3 quarts rendered duck fat OR lard I used 1 quart duck fat DAY 2  BAKE AND CURE Heat oven to 275°. Pour out any liquid from the pan of turkey. Microwave fat in a jar on low power or warm in a pot over low heat until the fat liquifies. Pour fat over turkey to cover the meat. Cover pan with foil; bake until very tender, ~ 2 hours. Let turkey cool in the fat and put the pan in the ‘fridge for 3-7 days.

When first I heard of confit for meat, I was horrified: all that salt and FAT? Ugh. But the salt and fat work to kill bacteria and also to make the meat very tender. The fat does not go into the meal, keeping the turkey low in fat.

DAY 5 or 7 HEAT AND EAT  Heat the pan until fat is just liquefied. Pour fat into a jar to freeze/store. Take legs from pan and let the extra fat drain off. Place legs in a cast iron pan and cook until browned and crisp, ~15 minutes
Plate with your favorite sides for a succulent meal.
What a grand Thanksgiving meal! A dish of stuffing was baked separately, since there was no bird to stuff.

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