Where Is My Spoon Recipes Main Dish Poultry Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe

Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe

by Adina 20/12/2019 4 comments

fried duck leg confit in a pan with potatoes
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Last Updated on 26/06/2020 by Adina

Traditional French confit de canard or duck confit, a simple yet amazing recipe, perfect for a special occasion.

DUCK LEG CONFIT

frying duck leg confit in a cast iron pan

Crispy skin, melt-in-your-mouth meat, this duck leg confit is just amazing!

I love eating duck! A roasted duck that my mother-in-law occasionally makes for us, pan-fried duck breasts with braised red cabbage, roasted duck legs, duck leg ragu… And I think I order something with duck every time we go to a Chinese restaurant.

So, I know my way with duck. But, this recipe for duck confit or French confit de canard is the best way of eating duck. No kidding!

That fall-off the bone tender meat, that slightly salty crispy skin, it is just incredible!!! You definitely have to try this dish!

I admit, this is no diet food, but on the other hand, this is a celebratory dish, not something you would eat on a Thursday (like I did when preparing the recipe for the blog). A dish you would make for a special occasion, like Christmas, something to be savored and slowly appreciated instead of being eaten quickly on a regular day.

fall-off the bone duck confit

WHAT IS DUCK CONFIT?

Duck confit or confit de canard is a French dish originating in Gascony (think D’Artagnan and Alexander Dumas, I must have read The Three Musketeers about 20 times when I was a child).

Confit is a century-old way of preserving meat in fat and it is not only typical for France, but for other parts of the world as well. I still remember the huge jars full of pork pieces and lard that my grandmother would keep in the pantry.

You can use the whole duck to make duck confit, but nowadays making only duck leg confit seems to be a common way. I suppose it has to do with the fact that the other duck parts are not as meaty as the legs are and you want that tender meat, as much of it as you can get.

duck confit legs fried in a pan

RECIPE FOR DUCK CONFIT

Making duck confit is super easy!

I have some tiny prejudice when it comes to French cooking, although I have been proven wrong almost every time I’ve actually cooked a French recipe.

But in the back of my mind, there is always this thought of French cooking being too complicated and maybe a little pretentious.

It might have something to do with all the French cooking shows, where star chefs would make super complicated dishes that look more like paintings than like real food, things I would gladly eat (if someone else would pick up the check afterward), but things that I would not even be tempted to try cooking myself.

This confit de canard recipe is exactly the kind of recipe I’ve always thought to be too much for cooking at home. But how wrong I was! The recipe is easy, not particularly expensive and it tastes just amazing!

confit de canard in a cast iron pan with potatoes

How to cure duck legs for confit de canard?

  • Prior to cooking, the duck legs need to be cured. Allowing them to sit overnight after you have rubbed them with a mixture of salt and dried herbs impart more flavor into the meat and skin.
  • To make the curing mixture you will need coarse sea salt, Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe, juniper berries, Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe, black peppercorns, Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe, and dried thyme, Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe. According to your taste, you might add other dried herbs as well, but I find this mixture very nice and aromatic.
  • After rubbing the duck legs with the salt and herbs, wrap each of them individually in cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 2 days.

Wash or not wash away the salt?

  • Some recipes will instruct not to wash the duck legs to remove the salt mixture before cooking but to remove the salt by simply rubbing it away with a cloth. This is an attempt to avoid reinflating the meat cells with water.
  • I’ve tried that and it was not a good idea, the meat was way too salty, I was glad I had only used that method on one of the duck legs.
  • Other recipes instruct you to wash the legs and then let them soak in cold water for 2 or 3 hours.
  • I decided the go the middle way and only wash the duck legs very thoroughly before cooking them in fat. This way the meat and skin were only slightly salty and so very delicious and the skin was super crispy.
raw duck legs preparing to be cured for duck confit
salt cured duck legs for duck confit

How to cook the duck legs in goose fat?

The fat:

  • Traditionally, when making confit of any kind you would preserve the meat in its own fat. So pork in pork lard and duck in duck fat.
  • However, the excess fat I managed to remove from the duck legs before curing them, was not enough to make an egg confit, if that was even possible.
  • And as duck fat is not something you can buy in the supermarket, I do what everybody does and use goose fat. Goose fat is available pretty much everywhere and it’s perfect to use for duck leg confit.
  • I needed 1,2 kg/ 2.7 lbs goose fat to make confit de canard. It is really a lot, but you have to completely submerge the duck legs into the fat when cooking.
  • The good news, once you have removed the legs from the fat, you can keep that fat in the fridge and use it for cooking.
, Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe

Cooking duck legs in goose fat:

  • Place the cured, washed and dried duck legs in a large Dutch oven, large enough to hold them all snugly without too much space left between.
  • They have to sit in a single layer because the more space there is in between, the more fat you will need.
  • Melt the fat in a jug saucepan and carefully pour it over the duck legs. Check with a kitchen thermometer if possible, the temperature of the fat should be between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius/ 160 -175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure that the meat is completely submerged in the fat.
  • To ensure that the meat stays submerged during cooking, I cut a piece of parchment paper, place it directly over the meat and place a heavy lid (from a smaller Dutch oven) on top.
  • It is very important that the temperature of the goose fat is always constant and about 80 degrees Celsius/ 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The fat should only barely simmer and never boil. Reduce the heat to very low and cook the duck legs for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Check the temperature of the fat with the thermometer from time to time, to make sure that it doesn’t get too high.
  • The duck legs are done when you can easily pierce the meat with a fork.
cooking duck legs confit in melted goose fat

HOW TO SERVE DUCK CONFIT?

  • You can fry and serve the duck leg confit immediately or later.
  • To serve immediately, remove the duck legs from the fat, let drain well on some kitchen paper and fry as instructed in the recipe.

How to preserve duck confit?

  • If you want to serve the duck confit at a later moment, leave the Dutch oven at room temperature until completely cool. Cover and place in the refrigerator. The fat will keep the meat for several days.
  • If you want to keep the duck leg confit for longer, transfer the duck legs to a large canning jar.
  • Sieve the melted fat to remove any impurities, let it cool for about 5 minutes and pour the fat over the duck legs.
  • Make sure that the duck legs are completely submerged in fat, the fat should top the meat by at least 2.5 cm/ 1 inch.
  • If kept in sealed jars the duck confit will keep in the fridge for a couple of months.
  • If kept in a plastic container, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
pot with duck legs and fat and confit duck legs

How to fry confit duck legs?

  • This part is also very easy.
  • Remove the legs from the fat and scrape away the fat, as well as you manage.
  • Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium heat.
  • Place the duck legs in the pan, skin side down and fry for 5 minutes or until the skin is deeply golden and crispy.
  • If you notice that the skin turns too dark too soon, lower the heat slightly.
  • Turn the duck legs on the other side and fry them for another 5 minutes or until deeply golden.
  • This time is usually enough to properly reheat the duck legs all through.

What to do with confit duck leftovers?

  • Keep them submerged in fat if you want to serve them the same way.
  • Otherwise, you can fry them and add to salads, make noodle, rice or potato casseroles.
  • Leftover fat:
  • You can reheat the goose fat until liquid and once slightly cooled, sieve through a fine-meshed sieve and pour into jars.
  • Keep refrigerated and use for cooking.
  • Use when making stew, soups or goulash for instance.
  • Why not try some confit potatoes or potatoes/eggs fried in goose fat?
  • There is also a layer of jelly at the bottom of the pot, under the fat. You can scrape that and keep in a jar in the fridge for a week or so. Use it to enrich sauces, stews or soups, it will dissolve and impart incredible flavor to the dish.
goose fat before and after melting

HOW TO SERVE DUCK CONFIT?

  • I assume that 4 duck legs will feed very generously 4 people. I usually calculate one leg per person and 1 leg per 2 or 3 kids, depending on age and appetite (mine are 8 and 11 and love duck confit).
  • A leg might even be too much for some adults, but if serving confit de canard to guests, I cannot really start slicing and dividing one leg at the table, I would not feel comfortable doing it.
  • If you have a soup or another appetizer before the main dish (and a dessert), 4 legs will probably feed 6-7 people.
  • In this case, I recommend slicing the duck legs in the kitchen away from the others. Completely remove the meat from the bones and serve the boneless meat.

Side dishes:

  • The simplest and most common way of serving duck confit is with potatoes and a fresh green salad, that will cut through the richness of the dish.
  • Try roasted potatoes (for a lower-fat side dish) or confit potatoes made with some of the goose fat you used for making the duck confit.
fall-off the bone duck confit

NOTES ON THE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

When calculating the nutritional information for this duck confit, I have only considered 3 tablespoons goose fat. The duck legs are cooked in more than one kilogram fat, but most of it will be leftover, so I can hardly calculate so much fat.

I was also not able to find nutritional information offered by other sites. I wanted to use that to compare my own calculations. But apparently, nobody knows how to calculate properly or is willing to offer that information.

The only information I found was 385 calories for a portion of duck confit. When searching for the number of portions, I realized that the person calculating was dividing 4 duck legs and 4 wings into 26 portions, which is absurd! So that can be real either!

Just keep in mind, that this confit de canard is a very rich dish, which has more calories than you would normally eat during a regular meal. But every calorie is well worth it! And as I have said before, this is a festive dish, not something to eat on a regular basis.

frying duck leg confit in a cast iron pan

MORE FRENCH RECIPES?

COQ AU RIESLING – French; tender chicken legs smothered in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms and grapes.

BAKED CROQUE MONSIEUR RECIPE – A famous French recipe for croque monsieur – baked ham and cheese sandwiches with Béchamel sauce and Gruyère cheese.

FRENCH BEEF STEW – Daube à la boeuf – a classic Provençal beef stew with tender meat pieces, a luscious red wine sauce, and olives.

FRENCH STYLE GREEN BEANS – An easy to make green beans almondine recipe, French-style sauteed green beans with almonds.

FRENCH APPLE CAKE – This French apple cake is one of the easiest cakes to make.

PIN IT FOR LATER!

one fried duck leg confit in a pan with rosemary
fried duck leg confit in a pan with potatoes

Confit de canard – Duck Confit Recipe

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 days
Total Time: 1 days 3 hours 10 minutes

Traditional French confit de canard or duck confit, a simple yet amazing recipe, perfect for a special occasion.

Instructions

Cure:

  1. Mix together the salt, black peppercorns, and juniper berries. Crush in a mortar and pestle or in a small food processor. I prefer the food processor, it is quicker and easier. Add the thyme and stir well.
  2. Trim the excess fat from the underside of the duck legs.
  3. Thoroughly rub the duck legs with the salt mixture.
  4. Wrap each leg into plastic foil/cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 2 days.



Duck confit:

  1. Wash and dry the duck legs. Place in a large Dutch oven, large enough to hold them all snugly without too much space left in between. They have to sit in a single layer, but the more space in between, the more fat you will need.
  2. Melt the fat in a jug saucepan and carefully pour it over the duck legs. Check with a kitchen thermometer if possible, the temperature of the fat should be between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius/ 160 -175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Make sure that the meat is completely submerged in the fat. To ensure that the meat stays submerged during cooking, cut a piece of parchment paper, place it directly over the meat and place a heavy lid (from a smaller Dutch oven) on top.
  4. It is very important that the temperature of the goose fat is always constant and about 80 degrees Celsius/ 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The fat should only barely simmer and never boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to very low and cook the duck legs for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  6. Check the temperature of the fat with the thermometer from time to time, to make sure that it doesn't get too high.
  7. The duck legs are done when you can easily pierce the meat with a fork.



Fry the duck legs:

  1. If you want to preserve the duck confit, read the blog post for instructions.
  2. To fry the duck legs, heat a large cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the duck legs, skin side down and fry for 5 minutes or until the skin is deeply golden and crispy. If you notice that the skin turns too dark too soon, lower the heat slightly.
  3. Turn the duck legs on the other side and fry them for another 5 minutes or until deeply golden. Serve as suggested above.

Notes

I only considered 3 tablespoons fat and 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt for the nutritional information. See the blog post for more info on that.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 673Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 348mgSodium: 1921mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 82g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

4 comments
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4 comments

mjskitchen 20/12/2019 - 23:01

Duck confit is my absolutely favorite dish! When I see it on a menu, I order it. Unfortunately, I’ve never been brave enough to make it. thank you for such detailed instructions. Now I think I could make this at home and not have to pay an arm and a leg at a restaurant. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

Reply
angiesrecipes 21/12/2019 - 05:31

wow…that turned out so beautifully golden and I bet they are very very yummy! I shall give this a try too.

Reply
Kelly | Foodtasia 21/12/2019 - 10:17

What a lovely dish and so perfect for special occasions! Your step by step instructions are very helpful!

Reply
marie johson 02/01/2020 - 17:55

i’ve tried this recipe and loved it. thanks for sharing 🙂

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