Easy Duck Confit

Low CarbPaleoDuck

A quick and easy method for making duck confit (2 hours versus 2 days).

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

packaged duck legs for making duck confit

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.

pat duck legs all over with paper towels

2 Prick the skin of the duck all over: 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.

prick the duck skin all over with a needle or sharp knife

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.

3 Salt the duck legs and let rest at room temp: 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.

Sprinkle the duck legs with salt

4 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.

place prepped duck legs in casserole to make duck confit

5 Slowly heat the duck in the oven: 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.

6 Turn up the oven heat to brown the skin: 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.

7 Let cool and strain the fat: 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 with brussels sprouts from The Paupered Chef

Duck confit poached in olive oil from Michael Ruhlman

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

48 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Jimi McV

    Very simple recipe (so why do I need to download it every time??) but great results.
    I have tried it several times, and had no failures.
    If I may suggest a couple of tips..
    1, Buy a whole duck, and remove the Marylands. It is much cheaper (per kg/lb), and you then have the breasts for another recipe (or confit them too), and you can use the carcass to make a delicious duck stock. I also chop off the neck and add it to the confit for some extra fat (and a nice treat for the chef).
    2, Liven up your salt rub. I have added orange zest, and/or spices to the salt to give it a bit more flavour. Options are limitless. It also means your left over duck fat has an extra taste to add to roast vegies.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • nancy friedberg

    oh heck….I was making these for cassoulet and I took a tiny bite…just to see…..and now if these leggies make it to cassoulet it will be a miracle of self control.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • n brown

    this is so easy and tastes just like the duck confit you get in France, delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Martine

    So easy and my family loved it! Will be making this often!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Martine Dubois

    Will be trying this today, do you put a cover on when the duck slowly cooks?

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Easy Duck Confit