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Recipe: Duck Confit

Confit is derived from an ancient French method of preserving meat: duck legs are seasoned with herbs and spices and then cooked very slowly in rendered duck fat until they are meltingly tender and deeply flavorful. Duck confit can be served on its own, perhaps on a salad dressed with a tangy vinaigrette or nestled in a bowl of cooked white beans with garlic. In addition, the tasty, succulent meat can be shredded and added to soups, stews, or vegetable dishes, or used to make hash, a filling for ravioli, or an appetizer spread (puréed with a little of the cooking fat--the French call this "rillettes"). Make it once and you'll likely want it to become a staple in your pantry!

Ingredients

Serves
6
  • 4 large duck legs with thighs
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 3 whole cloves, crushed
  • 4 1/2 cups (3 12-ounce containers) Graisse de Canard Gold®
  • Olive oil as needed

Methods/steps

  1. Season the duck legs generously with salt and pepper.  Combine the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves and rub the mixture all over the duck legs.  Place the duck legs in a bowl, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them overnight, 8-12 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Warm the Graisse de Canard Gold® in an ovenproof pot large enough to hold the duck legs.  Arrange them in the pot, skin side down.  If the fat doesn't completely cover the legs, pour in just enough olive oil to cover them.  Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the duck is completely tender (a knife should pierce the meat with almost no resistance) and the fat is nearly clear, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Cool the duck to room temperature in the pot, then refrigerate until chilled.  The duck legs should be completely covered by fat.  Store the confit in the refrigerator for up to one month.
  4. When you're ready to use or serve the confit, warm it in the pot at 200 degrees until the fat liquifies.  Remove the legs from the pot and wipe the excess fat off them.  To crisp the skin, roast the legs at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  The fat may be saved for another use like frying or roasting potatoes or vegetables.
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Classic French Stocks and Sauces