Those who read my blog know about my love affair with duck, especially duck confit, duck legs cooked in their own fat. It is a classic dish from Gascony, in the southwest region of France. It is super delicious, tender, moist, and full of flavor. Confit means preserved in French. Before refrigeration this was the preferred method to preserve meat by submerging it in fat to produce an air-blocking seal. I order duck confit whenever I am in France. Duck confit should be silky, with tender meat and a crispy skin. I have used it in different recipes such as duck quesadillas, one of my favorite meals. I won a prize for this recipe and it was served at Shadowbrook, a restaurants in Capitola.
For years I bought duck legs at Costco. They came from D’Artagnan , a company that sells high quality fowl and meat from small farms, and their products are excellent. But now our Costco stopped carrying them. I could order them from D'Artagnan but I wanted to make them myself. I tried different ways. First I made them, the traditional way. They were delicious but you need a large refrigerator to keep the legs in a jar of fat. I don’t have that space, so I tried different recipes and some of them were ok, but I was looking for a more authentic recipe. While researching I came upon a video from Bon Apppetit that I tried and liked very much. I have made it several times now and I am very happy with the results. It’s easy and takes little effort, but it does take time to cook. This is an especially good project for a rainy day or when you are working from home. You don’t have to pay much attention while it is in the oven for about 6 hours at low heat. Each step can be prepared a day ahead. The last time I started making them in my little cabin in the mountains. I put the rub on but then PGE turned the electricity off due to high winds and extreme fire danger. Back home they went and I started cooking them the night we got home and finished them the next day They were absolutely delicious. My husband declared them to be the best ever.
I made four legs the first time but I recommend making six. That gives you some leftovers that are great in different recipes like my duck quesadillas or just add them to a salad. I have added them to my lentil salad and it makes scrumptious meal.
In this recipe the duck legs are rendered in their own fat just like traditional duck confit. I have served my legs with fried or mashed potatoes and always with my red cabbage.
The Recipe for Duck Confit legs
This recipe makes 4 or 6 legs. I would recommend 6 legs.
6 duck legs
for the rub:
2 TBS peppercorns
2 TBS coriander seeds
3 Tbs kosher salt
3 pieces of 1 inch ginger
1 jalapeño pepper or other hot pepper (optional)
1 head of garlic
With a sharp knife puncture the skin of the duck legs, trying not to puncture the meat. Turn the legs over and puncture the fat pocket on the inside of the legs. Doing this will help the fat flow out of the legs. The legs need to be immersed in fat to cook them confit style.
Crush the peppercorn and coriander seeds lightly with a mortar and pestle, add salt and mix together. It’s important that you cover the legs with the mixture, especially the salt. Put the legs in a ziplock bag and keep them in the fridge for 10-12 hours or overnight. When you take the legs out of the bag brush off the spices and most of the salt, I use a paper towel for that.
Put the duck legs in a dutch oven with the skin side down. They are going to shrink as they cook. Half the ginger and score the fleshy side. I added ½ seeded jalapeño pepper. Cut the garlic bulb in half and add all your aromatics to the pot. Add ½ cup of water, put the pot with the lid on in a 250˙ degree preheated oven. After one hour check the duck legs. The fat will have started to render. Move the legs around a little bit without breaking the skin. Put them in the oven for another hour. After they have been in the oven for two hours turn the duck legs over skin side up making sure that the meat is still immersed in the fat. Cook for another 2 hours. Take them out of the oven and put the legs on a baking sheet to finish them in a 450 ˙degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes until the skin is crispy and has released most of its fat. Make sure you don’t burn them. That would be a shame. I often keep the legs in the fridge and crisp them the next day. In the meantime drain the fat, discard the aromatics . Put the fat in a container. It will last for months in the fridge and will take fried potatoes to another level. I also put it in my red cabbage .
If you decide to make this I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I enjoyed watching the video.
Click on the link below to watch the video
Recipe from the Test Kitchen of Bon Appetit by Carla Lalli Music
Posted by ©Sunnycovechef.com
My dear readers I hope that the magic of Christmas fills every corner of your heart and home with joy-now and always. Enjoy the holidays and have fun with friends and family.
Just in case you still need some ideas for Christmas. I won't be making my standing rib roast this year because we are going to a friend's house for dinner. Instead I will bring my cranberry sauce and chestnut shiitake mushroom stuffing and my country pâté. And of course will share some of the cookies I made. Poached pears will make a light and easy desert if you depot add ice cream.
12/23/2021 05:44:23 pm
I understand Mimi, I have made them several different ways over the years and to tell you the truth , I don't remember either. I like this recipe because it doesn't need large amounts of goose or duck fat. I have a recipe in the D'Artagnan's Glorious Game book that uses 8 cups of rendered duck fat. I have made this years ago and I can't tell you if it was better than this recipe. Merry Christmas to you.
12/29/2021 09:51:20 am
I'm not always a duck fan, but I am a fan of duck confit! I've never made it before, so thanks for the recipe!
1/2/2022 08:01:43 pm
Duck confit is a delicious way to eat duck. The crispy skin is the best. Thanks for the comment Jeff.
12/29/2021 07:13:48 pm
I have always meant to try this but still haven't. But I will! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year, Gerlinde!
1/2/2022 08:03:06 pm
A happy and healthy New Year to you Abbe.
1/2/2022 08:04:19 pm
Pamela, you can do this. It takes time but otherwise it is easy to make. Happy New Year!
12/31/2021 10:50:41 am
Thank you for this excellent recipe. My family and I are also big fans of duck confit and I have over the years used the Costco's D'Artagnan duck confit as well as Whole Foods' Mary's, however neither can compare with making duck confit with fresh duck legs according this superb and easy recipe. I add a bit of leftover duck fat that I keep in the freezer which helps the rendering of fat in the beginning. My husband also exclaimed: "This is the best duck confit I ever ate". By popular demand I am making this again for New Year's dinner because everybody loved it for Christmas.
1/2/2022 08:07:46 pm
Inga, I will add some extra duck fat when I make my next batch of duck confit.You are such a good cook my friend, thank you for the comment.
1/4/2022 01:24:44 pm
Just the kind of cooking project I'm looking for in the new year. GREG
1/7/2022 04:33:47 pm
It’s a fun project and it tastes good,
1/5/2022 07:39:44 am
Love duck! And confit. Never have made my own confit, though. One of these days! Terrific recipe -- thanks. And Happy New Year!
1/7/2022 04:34:57 pm
Happy New Year to you John. Let’s hope that It is a good one.
1/13/2022 04:41:24 am
Bravo for taking the effort to really figure out how to make duck confit at home! I've never tackled this one myself, and I've heard it can be kinda hard to make these perfectly. This looks like a totally doable recipe on a rainy....or snowy as the case may be...day. Thanks for sharing!
1/17/2022 08:22:29 pm
David, this is a fun project perfect for a cold day. Thanks for the comment.
2/2/2022 07:17:32 pm
Now this is a very special dish. It's a labor of love but super delicious. Wish we were joining you for dinner!
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Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.