Hailing from the Gascony region of France comes this ancient cooking technique called a confit. Confit is a way of salt curing the meat, in this case duck legs and then poaching it slowly in duck fat. The duck confit can then be stored, covered in the duck fat for days on end as a way of preservation. This process allows the duck to be saved for up to six months, so long as it is completely covered in the duck fat and no air is allowed in. This process is also a little time consuming so do be forewarned, but don’t be deterred. Duck confit is one of the most deliciously satisfying dishes you will ever taste. The steps are actually simple, its the waiting between the steps that takes the most time.
To begin, place the duck legs in a pan. In my area it is hard to find fresh duck legs but the frozen ones will do just as well.
You will need lots and lots of bay leaves, whole cloves, fresh black pepper, sea salt, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary. (The big hand belongs to my husband)
Add the rosemary, bay leaves and a few hand fulls of sea salt.
Then add the thyme, clove, and black pepper. Rub the herb, salt, and clove mixture all over the duck legs.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum 12 hours to 24 hours or more.
Two days later, hello duckie. Remove from the fridge.
Wipe off as much of the herb and salt mixture as possible.
In the meantime………
This is where the duck fat comes in to play. You will need at least 4 cups of rendered duck fat. I used the brand D’Artagnan, you can also buy duck fat it in larger sizes at Costco. It comes frozen.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Place the rack at the lower level.
Get the largest oven proof pot, turn the flame to medium in order to begin melting the duck fat. Put the duck fat in the pot, heat it up until melted completely.
Once the duck fat has melted, add the duck legs into the pot, be sure that they are fully submerged.
Once the oil has heated up to 210 degrees F., move the pot to the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 190 – 210 degrees F.
The duck legs will cook at this low temperature for 3 hours.
Remove the duck legs from the duck fat. The duck is tender and the meat about to fall off the bone. Place it in a large glass (Pyrex) bowl with an airtight lid.
Take a fine mesh sieve and ladle out the duck fat from the pot into the bowl, be sure to completely cover the duck legs with the fat.
Duck fat covered duck legs. Try saying that fast three times. Cover the bowl with its lid.
The duck fat will coagulate and harden in the refrigerator. You can keep it in this state for up to 6 months.
I will return shortly with the final step in which I roast the duck legs until crispy. MMMMMmmmm! I can’t wait that long.