Duck Confit Recipe
Looking for a super-simple duck confit recipe? You’ve come to the right place.
If you’re familiar with duck confit (pronounced con-FEET), you already know that it practically melts in your mouth, is loaded with flavor, and can elevate even the most urbane dishes to gourmet status.
But duck confit doesn’t just taste great – it can also be a health-promoting dish that is rich in belly-flattening, disease-fighting monounsaturated fats.
And because it is cooked “low and slow” and kept moist throughout the process, there is little concern for generating harmful cooking byproducts like lipid oxidation products (LOPs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can damage our DNA and cells.
And here’s the best part…
Despite its fancy reputation and legendary gourmet tradition, duck confit is very easy to make at home with just a few ingredients and minimal prep time. In fact, the hardest part about making duck confit is waiting until the dish is done.
Below, you’ll find a simple step-by-step recipe. But first, I want to share a little history on this treasure from the south of France and the culinary preservation method that’s making a comeback…
What is Duck Confit?
The word “confit” translates to “preserved” in French. It is an old-world technique, traditionally used for preserving duck, pork and goose.
But it is not the slow cooking that’s responsible for confit’s long shelf life – it’s the salt. Salt prevents the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. (You need a concentration of about 20% to kill most harmful species). The amount of fat covering the confit during storage also reduces spoilage, by preventing air from coming into contact with the meat.
Confit that is properly prepared will keep in the refrigerator for up to six months. But you’ll find so many ways to enjoy it, it’ll be gone much sooner than that!
Now that you know a little bit of the history, let’s get started with the easy preparation…
Duck Confit Recipe: The Easy Step-By-Step
The first (and most important step) is choosing the healthiest ingredients.
Most duck is factory-farmed, given routine antibiotics and growth hormones, crammed into tight, inhumane quarters and often force-fed to create fatty livers for foie gras production. For these reasons, we highly recommend that you avoid conventionally-raised duck.
We prefer using Pastured duck legs and duck fat from US Wellness Meats, sourced from free-range Pekin Ducks, fed a non-gmo diet, free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
The traditional method of preparing confit involves using pure duck fat to cook the legs. I like to make this delicacy a bit more affordable (and pack in more monounsaturated fats) by using a 50:50 blend of duck fat and avocado oil. You will still enjoy the rich flavor at about half the cost (I use Olivado for this recipe, but we also love Ava Jane’s unrefined avocado oil).
Once you have finished making your duck confit, you’ll have a nice supply of “duck-a-cado” oil that is safe to use at medium to high temperatures and is great for sautéing veggies, drizzling over roasted winter squash and root veggies, and of course, searing meats.
And finally, the aromatics… you’ll also need some bay leaves, thyme and black peppercorns.
Here’s a photo of everything you’ll need for your duck confit:
… and here’s what it will look like when its done…
- 6 free range duck legs (about 3 lbs.)
- 2 cups free range duck fat
- 2 cups avocado oil
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped
- 3 bay leaves, crushed
- 1 Tbsp. peppercorns, crushed
- ¼ cup salt (Real Salt and/or Smoked Maldon, preferred)
- First, rinse the duck legs and then pat dry. Combine the salts and aromatics. Add the duck legs to a large zip-top bag and pour in the salt mixture. Rub the legs to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator to cure for 24-36 hours.
- Remove duck legs from curing in the refrigerator. Rinse and pat dry. Then add the legs to a slow cooker or slow-cooker / pressure cooker hybrid. I use the Instant Pot for its versatility and safe, stainless steel interior.
- Now, melt the duck fat and add the avocado oil. Add the melted oil to the duck legs until they are completely covered. Turn on the slow-cook function and cook for six hours on low.
- Let the vessel cool slightly, then separate duck meat from oil and pull or chop the meat into small chunks. Now, you can now put your duck confit into mason jars and use a safe canning method for long term storage. Or simply pack the meat in jars and then cover completely with the fat. This will remain good in the refrigerator for up to several months, but it’s probably best to enjoy it within a few weeks.
How to Enjoy Your Duck Confit Recipe
There are unlimited ways to enjoy this gourmet treat. I especially enjoy melting duck confit until it is warm and then pouring the meat and fat mixture over a fresh salad. I also like to serve it as a starter at dinner parties, where it has always been a hit.
But one thing is for sure, once you taste that first bite, I think you’ll agree that this is one dish that you will want to enjoy this duck confit recipe over and over again.
Have you ever made duck confit? If so, what ingredients and preparation did you use and how did it turn out?