Easy Duck Confit

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Please welcome guest contributor Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook as he shares his method for making a quick and easy duck confit. So outrageously good! ~Elise

Duck or goose confit (con-fee) is one of the most luxurious of foods in French cuisine. Gently cured duck legs bathed in their own fat and slowly cooked to falling-off-the-bone perfection. Then the skin is crisped in a pan or oven, giving you the sinful combination of silky meat and crackling skin. It’ll roll your eyes back it’s so good.

Real confit takes more than a day to make. But I have a work-around that takes just a little more than two hours, and is nearly as good. And it’s easy – I mean super easy.

Get yourself duck legs. Goose legs work fine, but they are hard to find not already attached to a goose; you can buy duck legs separate from the duck. You will want at least one per person, but two per person is better. You may have to have your butcher order them. Specialty grocers may have them fresh or frozen.

Easy Duck Confit Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Duck legs (at least one per person)
  • Salt

Method

1 Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels. Find a needle or a very pointy knife and prick the skin of the duck all over. Focus on the skin that covers fat. Do your best to avoid piercing the meat itself by pricking the skin at an angle over the drumstick and the center of the thigh. You are doing this to give the fat that lies under the skin a place to seep out – if you don’t do this, it will be far more difficult to get crispy skin.

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2 Salt your duck legs well, more than you think you ought to, actually. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine.

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3 Put the duck legs in a small casserole, skin side up. How small? You want it just big enough to hold the legs. Put a thin sheen of oil or melted duck fat on the bottom of the casserole, then place the duck legs in close together but not overlapping.

4 Put the casserole in the oven and heat it to 300°F (150°C); if you have a digital oven, you could even go down to 285°F (140°C). Do not preheat the oven. You want to cook the duck as gently as possible.

Walk away and watch football, go shopping, read a book or something. How long? Every duck has a different level of fat, so I can’t tell you exactly. But it will be at least 90 minutes, and two hours is better. After 90 minutes, check the duck: It should be partly submerged in melted fat and the skin should be getting crispy.

5 When the skin is starting to look crispy, turn up the heat to 375°F (190°C). Check after 15 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden brown. If you missed some spots with the needle and there are places where the skin won’t crisp that’s OK—better that than burnt skin elsewhere.

6 Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating. Save the accumulated fat for cooking vegetables, other meats or for keeping your skin shiny. I strain the fat through cheesecloth, but you really only need to do this if you are saving the fat for several weeks or months; strained, it will keep for 6 months tightly covered in the fridge. Well wrapped, the duck meat itself will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

What to do with your lovely duck legs? Why eat them. You can just gnaw on the legs and let the luscious fat dribble down your chin, or pick off the skin and eat it—it is hard to re-crisp it later—and then strip the meat from the bones and use it in a salad, with beans or rice, or in with pasta.

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Links:
Duck confit and fig crostini from Habeas Brulee
Duck confit with brussels sprouts from The Paupered Chef
Duck confit poached in olive oil from Michael Ruhlman
Duck confit with sage from Food Mayhem
How to render duck fat by Katy of Sugarlaws

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Showing 4 of 33 Comments

  • Aeriol

    I love this recipe. IT works every time and is delicious. I now have a good amount of duck fat in the fridge to add to each new set of duck legs I cook up.

  • Ariane

    Delicious and not difficult. This is a keeper. Thanks!

  • Julie

    This looks like a great recipe. Thanks for sharing it! Unlike most others who have commented, I do have access to lots of duck fat. Is there any benefit of adding more duck fat to the pan – submerging legs 1/2 deep into added fat?

  • Kunlun

    Looks awesome, I will try it as soon as possible! I do not have access to duck fat though, what oil should I use? Olive oil?

  • Jay

    I have a lot of wild duck legs (mostly mallards) which I want to use for confit. However this recipe apparently contemplates using domestic legs because the recipe refers to the fat in the meat, whereas wild duck legs have little or no fat in the meat. Also, my legs are all skinned. And, finally, I don’t have any easy source of duck fat and I would prefer to use lard. How would you suggest modifying this recipe to use wild, skinned duck legs and lard? Will it still work? Thanks!

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