This recipe and method will yield restaurant-worthy duck leg confit as well as a supply of duck fat to keep on hand for future duck leg confit experiments. This duck leg confit recipe bucks tradition, calling for three ingredients and three hours of time. You don’t need a supply of duck fat; you don’t need to devote three days of your life.
- 4 duck legs
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 450g unsalted butter
Bake the duck in fat in low temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Place duck legs in a 9×13-inch or other similarly sized baking pan — you want them to fit somewhat snuggly (more snug than what you see in the pictures is just fine). Sprinkle with the tablespoon of kosher salt. Cover legs with sticks of butter, breaking the sticks in half if necessary. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil — use a couple of sheets of foil if necessary. Be sure to wrap tightly.
- Bake for 2.5 hours. Remove pan from oven. Let cool briefly, then remove foil to cool completely. Once cool enough to handle, transfer legs to a plate. Label it duck fat. Store in fridge indefinitely. When you make confit again, use this fat in place of butter. (Note: You may need to pop your vat of duck fat in the microwave so that you can pour it out of its container. Alternatively, plop the container into hot water, or let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.)
- If possible, bring the cooked duck legs to room temperature an hour before cooking. If you feel like being fancy, use the heel of your knife to whack off the top half of the bone nub at the end of each duck leg. Also, trim off any fat extending up the bone. Note: this is purely for presentation purposes and truly is not necessary.
Right before you serve the meal,
5. When you are ready to serve the meal, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You should not need to add any fat to the pan — the duck legs should have enough fat clinging to their skin sides. Once hot, add duck legs skin side down. Let them crisp undisturbed for a minute or two. Shake the pan to make sure the skin isn’t sticking. If it is, use a spatula to gently separate the legs from the pan, being careful not to tear the skin. Continue crisping, repositioning the legs if necessary to ensure the skin is browning evenly, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Then flip the legs over and cooking for one minute skin side up. You don’t want to cook the legs too much on the flesh side or the meat will get too tough.