Confit is an ancient method of preserving usually associated with traditional French cooking methods. The duck legs are salted and then slow cooked in fat. The cooked legs become very tender, and can be subsequently kept in pots or jars submerged in same fat which will set around them. The combination of salt, cooking and sealing inside the fat keeps the meat preserved. This was an important technique to master in the days before refrigeration. Today confit is no longer driven by necessity but rather by a desire to enjoy some tasty crispy duck. Our duck confit recipe below will show you how to do it.
The quantities below are for 4 people so requires purchasing separate legs. Consider also buying a whole duck and removing the legs (we can do this for you in the shop), with one roast meal and then a separate confit dish at a later date.
Ingredients For Duck Confit
4 Duck Legs from Morley Butchers
900g Duck/Goose fat or lard
Bunch fresh thyme sprigs
I large garlic clove
6 tbsp of salt
Cooking Method For Duck Confit
This is a dish of several stages first the salting followed by the slow cooking. Then the reheating and eating part. (NB If you want your confit legs to keep well for and extended period ensure that you have very clean utensils and storage jars etc.)
With a sharp knife cut away the skin and sinew around the bone end (at the joint) whilst not essential it will make a much nicer presentation when cooked. You only need to release it as the meat will shrink up during the cooking.
You will need a dish large enough that all the legs can lie flat. Peel and chop the garlic sprinkle half with half the salt into the dish. Lay in the legs skin side down. break up the bay leaf and thyme and scatter over followed by the remaining garlic and salt. The intent here is to get an even spread of salt an flavours across the meat. Place in the fridge overnight. Next day turn the legs over expect to see moisture being drawn from the legs by the salt. Next day they are ready to cook.
Preheat you oven to 130°c/Gas mark 1.
Rinse the legs very well to remove the herbs and all the salt then pat them dry with a cloth or paper towel. To cook the legs, use a dish that will hold the legs snugly with the fat just covering them. Warm the oil over a gentle heat until it reaches a slow simmer. Now place into the oven for 1.5 hours.
Gently remove the now golden legs from the fat (They can be quite fragile.) They can be placed into a suitable storage jar or container. Using only the clear fat ensure they are completely covered. Protected from air and moisture they will keep very well for many weeks in the fridge.
To serve remove from the fridge and extract from the fat allow the legs to come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 200 °c
Place the legs on a tray skin side down and put in the oven for 15 minutes by which time it will be heated through. Turn over and give another 5 minutes for some crispy golden skin.
These will be delicious served on some thinly sliced potato – Pommes à la Sarladaise. (This is thin sliced potato cooked with some of the duck fat, garlic and rosemary and roasted in a small dish to get an attractive circle.) with a little green salad on the side.
You can find more duck recipes here >>