Duck Confit
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 legs (see duck butchery for sourcing)
  • About 1 litre of duck fat (or alternatives – see duck butchery)
  • Salt – about a tablespoon
  • Pepper
  • Five spice powder (optional)
  • 6 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 whole star anise (optional)
Method
Curing
  1. In a non-reactive container (e.g. glass, stainless steel or plastic – I used the non-stick container I would later use for cooking) lay the duck legs in as few layers as possible, covering each layer with a good sprinkling of salt and fresh pepper.
  2. I like the taste of five spice powder with duck so added some of that. Traditional recipes would add thyme leaves or maybe bay leaves or nutmeg here.
  3. You then need to cover the container and store in the fridge. Recipes vary on how long – anywhere from about three hours to a couple of days. In my case, I left the legs for a day and a half – longer than I originally planned because if got waylaid by something else. Longer is probably better.
  4. You then need to wash off the curing salt and dry the legs to reduce the amount of moisture going into the confit process. Some cooks (like the Stellar guys) leave the legs uncovered in the fridge for a while to accentuate the drying process but I didn’t bother with this.
Cooking
  1. Lay the legs in a cooking container and throw in the crushed garlic cloves and the star anise if you are using it.
  2. The norm would be a heavy based saucepan that is big enough to contain the legs and enough fat to cover the legs or in an oven tin but it’s difficult to sustain the right low temperature, especially in the oven.
  3. The legs are going to be cooked slowly and I find this is one of those recipes which benefits from a specialised slow cooker (or a rice cooker with a slow cook function) which can achieve a fairly consistent temperature some way below boiling point. If you have one of these, you want to cook the legs for at least three hours. I did it for 5 hours on the low setting and they were very tender at the end, possibly even too tender as the skin broke very easily. I’d do it for 4 hours next time.
  4. If you don’t have a slow cooker, then about an hour and a quarter just barely simmering on the stove-top should be fine - check the legs are cooked through and tender with a knife in the thickest part of the thigh.
  5. Remember the skin at this stage will be soft – it will only get crispy when we do the final re-heat.
Storing
  1. Transfer the duck legs to your sterlised container being as delicate you can, not to break the skin.
  2. Carefully filter the hot fat into a heatproof jug and pour the filtered hot fat over the legs once again to cover them. It’s important to cover all the legs fully.
  3. Allow that to cool, cover and store in the fridge.
Re-heating and Serving
  1. Remove from the fat – you can take out as many as you need but be careful to leave the remaining legs covered with fat.
  2. Scrape off any excess fat and then heat. You can either do this in the oven or in a frying pan. I prefer the latter.
  3. Get a heavy-based pan and heat the legs, skin-side down, on a medium-to-high heat until golden.
  4. Heat a little on the other side.
  5. Serve with a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Remember, these are already cooked; you are applying just enough heat to crisp the skin up and warm the meat through.
Notes
The duck legs are very rich in flavour so you don’t need more than one per person accompanied maybe by a light salad. And possibly a little crusty bread to mop up any of that delicious fat.
Recipe by The Cook with No Name at http://cookwithnoname.com/index.php/2015/05/31/lining-up-all-your-ducks-in-a-duck-confit/