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Irresistible Traditional Duck Confit: A French Delicacy Made Easy

Classic French Duck Confit Recipe: A Staple of Gourmet Cooking

Discover the art of making mouthwatering duck confit, a timeless French dish that transforms duck legs into tender, flavor-packed morsels. This classic preparation method not only creates a sumptuous meal but also preserves the meat for extended enjoyment.

Duck confit, meaning “preserved” in French, is a culinary treasure that dates back centuries. The magic lies in slowly cooking duck legs submerged in their own fat, resulting in meat so tender it practically falls off the bone. This recipe brings the essence of French countryside cooking right to your kitchen.

Our traditional method begins with a 24-hour cure, infusing the duck with a medley of aromatic herbs and alliums. After a gentle rinse, the legs are lovingly cooked in a bath of duck fat until they reach the pinnacle of succulence. The result? A dish that’s not just a meal, but an experience to savor.

Once prepared, your duck confit can be stored in its protective layer of fat for up to a month, ready to elevate any meal. Serve it alongside a crisp salad for a light dinner, or incorporate it into hearty dishes like cassoulet for the ultimate comfort food.

Traditional Duck Confit: A French Classic Reimagined

Ingredients

  • 4 duck legs (about 2 1/4 pounds total; 1kg) (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (16g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
  • 6 large shallots (12 ounces; 340g), quartered
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces; 110g), cut into 2-inch pieces (see note)
  • 6 medium cloves garlic (30g)
  • 1/2 bunch (2 ounces; 55g) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) whole black peppercorns
  • 2 to 4 cups (475 to 950ml) rendered duck fat (see note)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Cure (24 hours ahead): Generously season duck legs with salt. In a food processor, pulse shallots, onion, garlic, and parsley until finely chopped, about 15 pulses. This aromatic mixture will infuse your duck with incredible flavor.
  2. Layer half the vegetable mix in a snug container. Sprinkle half the thyme and peppercorns, then place duck legs skin-side up. Cover with remaining herbs and vegetables. Seal tightly and refrigerate for 24-48 hours to maximize flavor absorption.

    Pro tip: For easy handling, use a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Massage to coat evenly, then lay flat on a baking sheet in the fridge.

  3. Cooking Day: Preheat oven to 225°F (105°C). Melt duck fat in a saucier or microwave. Rinse cure from duck legs and pat dry. Submerge legs in the warm fat, ensuring they’re fully covered.
  4. Cover and bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The duck is ready when it’s fork-tender and the skin begins to pull away from the drumstick. This slow cooking process ensures melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  5. Cool to room temperature while still submerged in fat. Once cool, cover tightly and refrigerate. Your duck confit will keep for up to 1 month, improving in flavor over time.

Recipe Notes

This recipe shines with all duck breeds, but we’ve perfected it using Pekin (Long Island) and Alina ducks.

No spare onion? No problem! Substitute with 3-4 extra shallots for equally delicious results.

The amount of duck fat needed varies with your cooking vessel. Ensure the legs are fully submerged throughout cooking. Render your own fat or find it at gourmet markets or online.

Feel free to scale this recipe up or down. Keep in mind that the fat-to-duck ratio may change with different cooking vessels.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Your duck confit will stay fresh for up to 1 month when refrigerated in an airtight, opaque container, fully submerged in fat. The flavorful duck fat can be reused for two more batches of confit. After the third use, taste-test for saltiness before using again.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
336 Calories
19g Fat
1g Carbs
38g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 336
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 1124mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 12mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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