Confit de canard (duck confit) is one of my ‘can’t live without’ dishes. If I am in a bistrot, I will almost certainly order it, and it’s the first dish I prepare for my friends when they come for a stay. It’s so French, so tasty, crispy, served with roast potatoes, salad and a good bottle of Médoc wine. I can’t think of a better way to say ‘welcome’.
When I first started this blog last April, I posted a simple version of confit de canard. The (pre-salted) legs were cooked in the oven up to two hours, along with potatoes and thyme. It was really good, turned out crispy as the duck fat does all the good work. It’s a dish I often make, and as it is one of my all time favorites, I wanted to share the version I like most – it’s still simple, just a few more hours of preparations. The result is a more unctuous meat. Confit means ‘preserved’. The preserving is done in duck fat in which the duck is gently cooked. It is then stored in the fat, and you can either sauté or roast in the oven.
Light up some candles, play lovely French music – no matter where you live, you’ll have a bit of France on your plate.
Confit de canard (duck confit) recipe:
Ingredients (serves 4):
4 duck legs
1 large jar of duck fat (enough to cover the duck legs entirely)
Lots of coarse sea salt (fleur de sel)
Potatoes, sliced (count 3 medium sized ones per person)
3 garlic cloves, sliced in half
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Cover the duck legs with a generous amount of ‘fleur de sel’ and make sure to rub it in. Cover with cling film and leave in your fridge overnight.
When ready, take out the duck legs and rinse them in cold water. Pat dry with kitchen towel. In a large pot, melt the jar of duck fat and cook the duck legs at a steady temperature for 2 hours (approx. 70-80 degrees celsius). Take the duck legs aside and drain the duck fat through a sieve. Return duck legs to the drained fat and leave to cool. When cooled, keep a layer of fat on the legs (approx 1.5 cm/ 1/2 inch)
How to prepare them:
1) You roast them. They have to be slightly crispy and golden. I always add a bay leaf, fresh thyme, 3 garlic cloves (sliced in half) and sliced potatoes (see photos – count 3 medium potatoes per person). Cook in a preheated oven 200°C/400°F for 25-30 minutes, depending on oven strength.
2) You can also sauté the duck legs in a frying pan until crispy and golden on each side. Sprinkle with fresh thyme towards the end.
Ps: Duck fat is healthy for you!