I cooked not one, but two whole geese for New Year’s Eve dinner. The result was just enough goose meat to feed a crowd, and lots and lots of leftover goose fat. I decided to try my hand at duck confit. For confit, either vegetables or meat are cooked slowly then stored in fat. In French, confit literally means to preserve. Confited meat will hold for months in the refrigerator. Duck Confit is beautiful served warm over a salad, pulled and put in soup or a pot of beans, or placed on toasted crostini for a classy snack.
Here’s a simple recipe for duck confit, great for using up rendered poultry fat. If you don’t have rendered fat on hand, you can pick up a couple pints of duck fat from us at The Local Butcher Shop. If you don’t feel like going to any of this trouble, we often sell confit duck legs—and sometime confit rabbit!— in the charcuterie case.
Confit Duck Legs
- 4 whole duck legs
- 1.5 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine (sub 4 tablespoons green garlic, if in season)
- 2 juniper berries, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 4 cups duck or goose fat, melted
Step 1: Cure the Duck Legs
Crush the salt, spices and herbs with a mortar and pestle or whirl together in a spice grinder. Mash the seasoning mix and garlic together to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the duck legs to coat. Refrigerate the legs for 48 hours.
Step 2: Cook the Duck Legs
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Rinse the legs and pat dry. Place the duck legs in a single layer in a oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. (It’s okay if they overlap a bit.) Pour the melted duck fat over top to cover the legs. Place in oven and cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.
3: Store the Duck Legs
Let the legs cool completely in the fat, then transfer in to a clean container. Pour fat over duck to submerge completely. Allow the fat to solidify in the refrigerator and store for up to three months.
4: To Reheat
When you’re ready to use your duck confit, remove it from the refrigerator and let the fat soften for several hours at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the duck leg(s) in an ovenproof pan and heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is warmed through and skin is crisp.