Spiced Duck Confit
Confit is also wonderful served cold in a salad with baby greens and a savoury dressing.
The term “confit” comes from the French word confire, which means “to preserve.” A specialty of southwestern France, particularly the Occitan region, it is usually prepared from the legs of geese or ducks by slowly cooking the cured meat in its own rendered fat and allowing it to cool. If this centuries-old technique is properly followed, confit will last about six months in the refrigerator without spoiling.
Spiced Duck Confit
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp black peppercorn, coarsely cracked
- ¼ bunch fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup coarse salt
- 4 whole duck legs
- 8 cups duck fat (enough to completely cover duck legs)
- Place cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, thyme and garlic in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and salt, mix well and reserve.
- Spread half spice mixture on bottom of a medium-sized pan or platter. Place duck legs skin side up on the spices. Top with remaining spices.
- Cover pan with plastic wrap and place another same sized pan on top of duck legs. Weigh down top container with soup cans or jars. Place duck legs in the refrigerator and allow to cure for two days.
- Remove duck legs from pan, wash off salt and spices completely and discard. Pat legs dry with towel. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Place duck legs on a baking sheet and roast until skin begins to brown, about 15 minutes. This will dry them completely after washing. In the meantime, in a medium-sized cooking pot, warm duck fat over low heat until liquified.
- Submerge duck legs in fat, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven at 250ºF. The legs will take roughly 2½ hours to cook. Check for doneness by stabbing with a wooden skewer near joint. If skewer pulls out easily, legs are done. If not, continue cooking. Allow to cool until fat congeals. Store duck confit in refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- To serve, remove duck legs from fat. Fry legs skin side down in a heavy skillet. Continue to cook over low heat until skin is browned and crisp. Serve on a bed of fresh greens with sliced potatoes fried in duck fat and braised red cabbage. Reserve any leftover duck fat for later use.