Greetings from rainy, almost cold (but not quite) Atlanta. Things have been hopping as we near the Christmas rush. I trust that each and every one of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy a few days with loved ones. Julie, Scott and I headed up to Tennessee to hang with my family for a few days. It was a fantastic trip filled with some down time and (for me) a few days in the woods hunting. Saw a ton of deer, including the biggest buck I’ve ever seen on our property. He was quite a stretch from me (about 600 yards). His horns were visible from that distance and I gave a concerted effort to coax him over my way. In the end, I had nine deer at a range of 100 yards and opted to take a few does to put meat in the freezer.

Hunting was fruitful, both does were very mature and were good to harvest. A heck of a way to kick off Thanksgiving day. In the week before Thanksgiving, I’d been in touch with John Welbourn to wrap our collective heads around deep frying a turkey in coconut oil. We’d exchanged a few thoughts and tips before the big day. I carried six 1.5 liter jars of Carrington Farms coconut oil with us to the farm and my parents secured a 12 pound free range bird that my cousin had been raising. We dry brined the bird with salt for 2 days before cooking. Once the bird was rinsed and patted dry, we got our oil started. I could have probably used a seventh jar…but everything still turned out OK. A light dusting of the turkey with cajun seasoning to give it a little zing. We made sure the turkey was at room temperature before we dropped it in the oil. Our thermometer read 350F and pretty much stayed there for the entire process. Thirty-two minutes later, we pulled out the most beautiful turkey you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

I carved up the fried bird and served on a platter. Additionally, my mother had oven roasted a twenty pound bird…so the Mayfield clan wasn’t short on turkey for the Thanksgiving day feast. Now, I’ve had my share of good turkey in the past. The coconut oil fried version lived up to all my expectations. It was moist and there was a slight hint of coconut in the skin. If I had to name it, I’d call it an island bird. After dinner, I headed back out to the fryer and brought in the oil left over from the turkey. You spend that much money to fry something, you had better believe I’m going to get more that one use from that oil. Running the coconut oil through a sieve, I carefully filled the jars back up and left it outside to freeze. We brought the oil back to Georgia with us and I still have five jars in the freezer.

This brings me to our recipe today. I’ve often enjoyed confit as the fruit of someone else’s labor. My pig butchering buddy Todd Mussman has sent over everything from confit chicken hearts to duck. Full disclosure- this is my first attempt at this technique. I picked up a few beef shanks from the from Whole Foods and got to work. While there are differing definitions on what “confit” is and a purist might tell us we didn’t really make beef confit because it was not cooked in its own fat and then preserved in that fat (because we wanted to eat it right away), we’re still going to call it confit!

Confit Beef Shank Tacos

Serves 8-12 Tacos     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef shank
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 heart of celery stalk
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 cups coconut oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion sliced
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 tbs ghee

Instructions

  1. Salt beef on all sides and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 250F.
  3. Melt coconut oil in sauce pan.
  4. Place beef in dutch so that they cover the entire bottom.
  5. Toss in remaining ingredients and pour over warm coconut oil.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 6 hours.
  7. Remove from oven and use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the oil.
  8. Heat ghee in skillet and saute onions until browned.
  9. Coarsely chop beef shank.
  10. Rinse and dry your lettuce leaves.
  11. Stuff your lettuce leaves with onions and beef. Add salsa, avocado, or guacamole to your liking.

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These turned out delicious! I managed to reserve the coconut oil again so that I can confit some fresh quail a friend brought to me on Friday. The hope it to get as much mileage out of this oil as possible. I really like the fact that I’m seasoning the oil with all sorts of fancy herbs and spices.

Lastly, this is the last day to enter our “Fantastic Foodie Weekend” trip to the ATL. Head over to Robb’s site (click here) to register before midnight tonight (EST).

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