- 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons white peppercorns
- 12 whole duck legs (leg and thigh)
- 6 7-ounce containers rendered duck fat
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Finely grind first 4 ingredients in spice mill. Trim excess fat from duck legs; place trimmings in bowl, cover, and chill. Rub salt mixture all over duck legs. Layer legs and garlic cloves in large resealable plastic bag. Seal; chill 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Simmer duck fat, duck trimmings, and 1 cup water in large saucepan over medium-low heat until water evaporates and simmering slows, about 30 minutes. Thoroughly rinse salt mixture from duck and discard garlic; pat dry. Place duck in large deep roasting pan. Pour hot fat over. Cover with foil; place in oven. Cook until meat is tender and falling off bone, about 3 1/2 hours. Uncover; cool slightly. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill until cold. Cover; chill at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled and completely covered in duck fat. Always use clean tongs to remove duck from fat in pan.
Before using duck confit in a recipe, preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Remove duck from fat; scrape fat back into pan. Working in batches, cook duck, skin side down, in skillet 1 minute. Transfer, skin side down, to rimmed baking sheet. Roast until skin is crisp and duck is heated, about 15 minutes. Remove from sheet, keeping skin intact.
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Two 1/2-inch-thick slices of pancetta (4 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 pound dried flageolets or Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 2 hours and drained
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 quarts water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 large head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- Kosher salt
- 4 pieces of duck leg confit, trimmed of excess fat
- 3/4 pound French garlic sausage, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 4 ounces lean slab bacon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the beans, thyme sprigs, water and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the beans are al dente, about 1 hour.
Add the garlic cloves to the beans and simmer until the garlic and beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Season the beans with salt and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate the saucepan overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Rewarm the beans over moderate heat. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish. Nestle the duck legs, garlic sausage and bacon into the beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cassoulet is bubbling and all of the meats are hot. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and the parsley over the cassoulet and serve.
What Is Duck Confit?
What is duck confit? Is it a dish by itself, a technique, or one of those fancy French things too snooty for you to even bother with? It's the first two &mdash you definitely want to bother with this and it's decidedly unsnooty. A favorite method of preparing meat in pre-fridge France was to preserve it in its own fat. It's similar to maceration, but instead of infusing booze with fruit, you're infusing meat with fat and flavor. Harmful bacteria can't thrive in dense fat, so historically, confit didn't have to be chilled to stay fresh. That said, please refrigerate your duck confit because we no longer live in medieval France.
The legs and thighs are the fattiest portions of the bird and therefore the ones you want to use. Allowing the legs to sit overnight or longer with herbs imparts more flavor into the meat and fat. Since the meat will be hanging out in the fat for a nice long time as it slowly cooks, it's worth it to seek out high-quality fresh herbs. Now is not the time to reach in the back of the spice drawer for that dusty jar of rosemary or pine needles, you're not sure which one. That's right, we can see into your kitchen.
Once your confit is finished, it'll keep for up to six months (refrigerated &mdash again, don't challenge nature's generosity) and the leftover duck fat can be re-used for frying potatoes, eggs, plantains and (our personal favorite), making popcorn.
Grated or sliced potatoes browned with duck fat in a pan are the perfect nest for shredded duck confit.
Shredded duck confit can serve as the center of attraction in many types of sandwiches try it with your favorite BBQ sauce or in our Vietnamese-style duck confit bahn mi recipe.
What does confit mean?
The word “confit” in French means “to preserve”. It can apply to different foods, including fruit and vegetables.
In the case of meat it refers to the technique of first curing then slow-cooking meat under fat at a low temperature. The meat can then be stored under the cooking fat for long periods, free from spoilage. It just so happens that this technique also yields impossibly tender, delicious and flavourful meat that gets better the longer it’s stored! Those clever French …
Historically, this preservation technique was a necessity to survive times of scarcity. Today, it means we can enjoy produce at its best (even when out of season) and have luxurious preserved foods at our disposal.
Duck Confit, originating from the south-western region of France, is one of the most classic and well-known confit foods.
Duck Confit after removing from the oven after 8 hours of slow roasting submerged in duck fat.
Michel Roux Jr's duck confit recipe
Duck confit is incredibly easy to make and so versatile when homemade and served on a bed of garlicky potatoes. It cannot fail to impress.
- 8 duck legs
- 500 g good-quality coarse sea salt
- 1.5 kg duck fat
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 8 duck legs
- 17.6 oz good-quality coarse sea salt
- 3.3 lbs duck fat
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 8 duck legs
- 17.6 oz good-quality coarse sea salt
- 3.3 lbs duck fat
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Cuisine: French
- Recipe Type: Main
- Difficulty: Easy
- Preparation Time: 90 mins
- Cooking Time: 120 mins
- Serves: 8
- Liberally sprinkle the salt over the duck legs and refrigerate for 90 minutes. Then brush off the salt with a cloth and discard.
- Warm the duck fat in a pan over low heat. Add the duck legs and the thyme and sage.
- Bring to a very gentle simmer, cover with greaseproof paper and cook for 2 hours or until tender. The slower and longer the cooking time, the better the duck will be.
- Leave to cool in the fat and then refrigerate. The confit will keep for several weeks.
- When you want to eat the confit, gently lift the legs out of the fat and place skin-side down in a non-stick pan. Cook over medium heat until crispy and golden.
- Turn the legs over and put in preheated oven at 180C to finish warming through for 10-15mins.
- Serve with sauté potatoes.
Recipe taken from The Everyday Roux guide in association with the Council of Bordeaux Wines
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"Confit is an old French technique for preserving duck legs in fat. Although most people no longer have to keep duck through the winter without refrigeration, the technique is still used a lot because it makes for delicious eating. The only difficult part is coming across enough luscious duck fat&mdashyou can order it from www.hudsonvalleyfoiegras.com or www.dartagnan.com. You can render duck fat yourself, or you can substitute lard. Once you make confit, you can keep it in the fridge for months."
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 large duck legs and thighs (attached), about 3 pounds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
- 15 sprigs fresh thyme
- About 4 cups rendered duck fat or lard
Place the salt in a bowl and blend with the sugar. Holding one duck leg at a time over the bowl, rub a generous amount of the salt-sugar mixture all over the leg, into the skin and flesh. Repeat with the remaining legs. In the bowl or another container, pack the salted legs on top of each other, layering them with the peppercorns, juniper berries, and thyme. Sprinkle with any remaining salt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
The next day, unpack the duck legs and rub off any salt and spices with paper towels. Pat dry. Melt the fat or lard in a wide heavy-bottomed pot just big enough to hold the legs. Add the duck to the fat it should be submerged. Simmer the duck very slowly for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat browns, shrinks off the bone, and is very tender when pricked with the point of a knife. The fat should never go much above 220ºF during the cooking time. Remove the pot from the heat and let the duck cool in the fat to room temperature. You can either eat the duck as it or transfer it to a storage container, cover with the strained fat, and chill until ready to use.
To serve the duck, pull a leg piece out of the fat, being careful not to pull out the bone and leave the meat behind. If you can't get the piece out, you can let the fat come to room temperature, heat it in a microwave, or warm it in a water bath in a large pot on the stove. Scrape any excess fat off the meat. Heat a dry frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat and place the leg in the pan, skin side down, to crisp up and heat through before serving, about 6 minutes. (Alternatively, you can brown and crisp the duck, skin side up, under a broiler for about 8 minutes.)
Trim fat from legs and thighs, leaving skin intact over meat, but removing excess. In a bowl, combine duck with salt, juniper berries, bay leaves, and garlic, and rub salt mixture all over the duck to cover completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 2 days.
Remove from refrigerator and rub off excess cure (reserve garlic). Melt duck fat over medium heat in a Dutch oven large enough to hold duck, with about 3 inches space at the top. Add duck, skin side down, and heat until fat reaches about 200 degrees (test with a candy thermometer or electronic probe.) The surface should look like it is gently boiling (but should not actually be at a boil). Adjust heat if necessary to keep temperature consistent throughout cooking. Cook until the fat is clear and a knife stuck into one of the legs slides out easily, about 3 hours.
Transfer the legs to several glass, stainless-steel, or glazed-stoneware containers. Strain fat, discarding any solids and pour, still warm, over legs, making sure they are completely covered. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 weeks.
Remove desired amount of confit from fat, scraping off any excess, and keeping remaining legs covered with fat. Place skin side down in a cold cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet. Place over medium-low heat and cover. Cook until skin is crisp, spooning off excess fat as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Serve as desired.
Cooking all things duck
Believe me, I have tried a few methods, and this is definitely the best. Make sure you cut the potatoes into big chunks to maximise the crunchy exterior with a soft fluffy interior. The baking soda really does help, as alkaline water breaks down the surface of the potato creating loads of starchy slurry for masses of crispy crunch. Make sure your fat is REALLY hot when you add the potatoes.
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 5 tablespoons duck fat
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 230°C. Bring 2 litres of water in a large pot to the boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, baking soda, and the potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine duck fat with the rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a roasting tray. Cook in the oven until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Immediately take it out and strain the fat through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl. Set the garlic/rosemary mixture aside and keep for later. Put the fat back into the oven tray and keep it hot in the oven.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 2 minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Shake them a little- to rough up their surfaces. Transfer them to the oven tray with the infused fat, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper and toss to coat thoroughly.
Spread them out evenly and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Carefully release any stuck potatoes, shake the tray to turn the potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
Serve them mixed with the garlic/rosemary mixture and more salt and pepper if needed.
Basic Duck Breasts
Heat an ovenproof frying pan to a medium heat and pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Pat dry the duck breasts and score the skin in a crisscross pattern. Lightly season the skin with salt.
Place them in pre-heated pan skin side down, using no oil, for 5 mins or until the skin is golden. Turn and cook for a further 2 mins. Place the pan in the pre-heated oven for a further 8-10 mins or to your liking. Duck breast is best served medium at most to keep it moist and tender.
For best results rest uncovered for 5 mins before slicing and serving.
Of course, you can cook the legs or marylands in the same way. Then make this basic recipe into many different kinds of dishes.
Ideas for Breasts and Legs
Braised Marylands with Olives and Red Wine
Crisscross the skin of the legs and place them in a deep frying pan skin side down. Brown the duck and release some fat, then remove them from the pan. Drain off all but a little of the fat. Cook diced onion, garlic and coriander seeds until soft. Deglaze with red wine, add chicken or duck stock, sliced green olives and some thyme to the pan and put the marylands back into the pan. Simmer until the duck is tender.
Salade Landaise is a traditional French salad originating from the Landes area, famous for its duck and walnuts. The salad is loved for its contrast of temperatures of the ingredients when served. It's made with duck breast, gizzards or confit with lettuce leaves, bacon, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and croutons.
The meat is cooked and cut or shredded, then combined with the other ingredients and dressed with a combination of mustard, vinegar, honey, onions, olive oil, and chives. The duck pieces are traditionally arranged on top of the salad, which should be served immediately while the meat is still warm.
Bohemian Pecena Kachna
Dry the duck and then salt the exterior and interior of duck well. Rub with garlic and sprinkle with lots of caraway seeds. Place duck breast-side down in a roasting pan with a lid and cover. Make sure there is about a cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Roast duck for 1 hour, skimming off excess fat. Turn duck breast-side up and continue to roast uncovered for another hour, basting often, or until the skin is golden. Rest 10 minutes before carving.
This recipe might look like a bit of a faff, but is actually very simple to do. It is just a matter of starting the day before to allow for drying time. You can buy the frozen pancakes for this dish in any good Asian supermarket. Just steam them before serving. Or go to a good Chinese restaurant that serves this dish and ask if you can buy some of their homemade pancakes. If you are game, there are plenty of recipes online telling you how to make them, but it does require a bit of skill.
The key to Peking duck is totally drying the duck out before roasting so that the skin goes super crispy. When it is served in Beijing the platter of duck has a combination of slices of meat and many slices of crispy skin. The skin is the most coveted part.
There are also usually 3 courses to this dish in a restaurant, so that none of the duck is wasted. The meat and skin are served with the pancakes. The carcase is then made into a stock for a soup, and the bits of meat picked off the carcase are added to stir-fried rice. Whenever we make it at home the carcase is used to make stock for congee which is topped with lots of ginger, sesame oil, coriander, peanuts and the meat stripped from the bones.
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
- 2 spring onions, trimmed
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 2 star anise
- 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 3 tablespoons soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice
- 2-2.5kg duck
- To serve:
- Store-bought mandarin pancakes
- 2 cucumbers, seeded and cut into strips
- Small bunch spring onions, cut into thin strips
- Hoisin sauce, to drizzle
Wash duck inside and out, then pat dry with paper towel. Use kitchen string to tie the duck's legs firmly together.
Bring a large stockpot of water to the boil. Add soya sauce, ginger, spring onions, black vinegar, star anise and a cinnamon stick. Let it simmer for a few minutes to infuse. Drop the duck into the boiling water for 3 minutes. Take out and dry it off again. Set the uncovered duck aside to dry out overnight. We hang it from the clothes horse with a towel underneath to catch the drips, (you can face a fan onto the duck to speed up the process - the duck skin should feel like taut parchment when ready).
The next day preheat the oven to 240°C. Make a mix of 5-spice, soya sauce and Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. Rub this all over the duck. It is best if you can now stand the duck up to go in the oven so that the fat drips down and out of the duck into the tray. You can use the beer can method (drink the beer first and fill it with water). Or just place the duck on a rack over an oven tray to catch the fat.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for a further 1 ¼ hours. Set duck aside for 10 minutes to rest before carving.
Carve the duck into thin slices. To serve, help yourself to a pancake, then place a slice of duck in the middle of the pancake. Add some cucumber and spring onion, drizzle with hoisin sauce, wrap and eat. We have Peking Duck every Christmas for entrée (a bit of a tradition in our house) but we change it up a bit for summer by serving it with the pancakes and some fresh mesclun salad with toasted cashews and coriander drizzled with lime juice and sesame oil. Instead of hoisin, you can use a Chilli plum sauce or as we do, mix a little soya sauce into some QP mayonnaise and spread that on the pancake first. Not traditional, but delicious.
This traditional Iranian dish is made with duck, pomegranate and walnuts. The affinity between pomegranate and duck goes back to ancient times in Persia. Fourth-century Persian manuals describe the domestication of the duck, fed on hemp seeds and olives. The finest meal possible was one of these ducks served in a pomegranate and walnut sauce.
- 1 kg duck legs
- 4 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 2 medium onions
- 300g walnuts (2 ½ cups), blitzed into crumbs
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chicken or duck stock/water
Melt the ghee in a dutch oven or wide frying pan. Fry the duck pieces on each side in the hot ghee/oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.
Finely chop the onions and gently fry them for about 10 minutes in the same oil over low to medium heat, until translucent.
Add the walnut to the onions and combine them. Also add approx. 2 cups of stock or water, turmeric, and black pepper and give it another stir. Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
Submerge the duck in the stew and put on the lid. Let it simmer over medium heat until the walnut oil starts to appear on the surface of the stew. This may take 30 minutes or more. (While cooking, if you turn off the heat and put 2 cubs of ice, stir gently and wait till the Fesenjan cools down a bit, this thermic shock will help walnuts to release more oil. Some chefs do this once or twice during the cooking process).
You can now add the pomegranate molasses to the stew.
Put the lid back on and let your Fesenjan simmer until the meat is cooked tender. With duck, this should take another 50 to 60 minutes. Serve over saffron rice.
Duck Liver Paté
- 200 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 100 gm bacon, finely chopped
- 500 gm duck livers, cleaned
- 50 ml brandy
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) cream
- 150 ml clarified butter
- To serve: toasted baguette
Heat 30gm butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot are soft (5-6 minutes).
Add bacon, cook until crisp (2-3 minutes), season to taste, then transfer mixture to a food processor. Heat 30gm butter in same pan, add livers and cook until brown (1-2 minutes each side), then add to food processor.
Return pan to heat, deglaze with brandy, cook for 2-3 minutes, scraping the base of pan with a wooden spoon, then add to food processor. Add vinegar and remaining butter to food processor, process until smooth, then add cream and process to combine.
Adjust seasoning to taste, pass through a fine metal sieve, spoon into a 2½ cup-capacity mould to 2cm below rim and refrigerate until surface is just set (15-20 minutes). Pour over clarified butter to cover and refrigerate until set. Serve with crusty bread or good crackers.
Duck Confit Recipe: The Easy Step-By-Step
The first (and most important step) is choosing the healthiest ingredients.
Most duck is factory-farmed, given routine antibiotics and growth hormones, crammed into tight, inhumane quarters and often force-fed to create fatty livers for foie gras production. For these reasons, we highly recommend that you avoid conventionally-raised duck.
We prefer using Pastured duck legs and duck fat from US Wellness Meats, sourced from free-range Pekin Ducks, fed a non-gmo diet, free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
The traditional method of preparing confit involves using pure duck fat to cook the legs. I like to make this delicacy a bit more affordable (and pack in more monounsaturated fats) by using a 50:50 blend of duck fat and avocado oil. You will still enjoy the rich flavor at about half the cost (I use Olivado for this recipe, but we also love Ava Jane&rsquos unrefined avocado oil).
Once you have finished making your duck confit, you&rsquoll have a nice supply of &ldquoduck-a-cado&rdquo oil that is safe to use at medium to high temperatures and is great for sautéing veggies, drizzling over roasted winter squash and root veggies, and of course, searing meats.
Onto the next key ingredient: salt. I use a combination of mineral-rich Real Salt and Smoked Maldon. I find this combination gives the confit a pleasant slightly &ldquosmoky&rdquo taste.
And finally, the aromatics&hellip you&rsquoll also need some bay leaves, thyme and black peppercorns.
Here&rsquos a photo of everything you&rsquoll need for your duck confit: