Confit Duck Legs
This recipe is sponsored by FoodSaver.
This recipe is for the traditional French preparation of duck confit where duck legs are cured in salt, then rinsed and slowly cooked at a low temperature in duck fat or other lard. The result is extremely tender meat with an outside that can be quickly reheated and crisped in a hot skillet for serving. This method of confit cooking was once considered to be a preservation method (it literally comes from the French word to preserve); the process of salting and cooking the meat in fat can make the meat last for several months when properly sealed and stored. It was originally used to keep meats like duck preserved through the winter months.
This is where I turn to my FoodSaver to vacuum seal the duck. Since it takes a bit of time I like to make it worthwhile and make a bunch of confit duck legs at one time, then use the FoodSaver to preserve the legs with a little bit of their fat. The vacuum sealer keeps air from getting in and preventing any bacterial growth after the cure has drawn out the water, and the meat has been slowly cooked in an environment inhospitable to bacteria growth. The FoodSaver FM2000 is not only the most trusted brand for your vacuum sealing needs but it also has a 5 year limited warranty and is ETL safety certified.
If you have trouble finding duck legs in the grocery store then I would recommend asking your local butcher to either set some aside or special order them. The meat from the confit duck legs can be used in a number of ways from being served on it’s own, or accompanied by vegetables, orserved on top of salads, on poutine, or in soup.
8 large duck legs (about 7 pounds)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 dried bay leaves, broken into pieces
6 pounds duck fat or lard, melted
Rub each duck leg with the salt and add them to a bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining salt as well as the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally for 6 to 12 hours.
Thoroughly rinse the duck legs and pat dry with paper towels. Working in batches in a cold large sauté pan, lay the duck legs skin-side down. Lightly fry over low heat until the pieces are lightly browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining duck legs.
Heat oven to 300ºF. Transfer the duck legs to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot a secure lid and arrange in a layer and cover with the melted duck fat or lard (the legs should be completely covered). Seal tightly with a lid and cook until the duck has rendered all of it’s fat and the meat is almost falling off the bone, about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Remove the legs from the pan and let cool completely. Let the duck fat cool to almost room temperature. Add the duck legs in batches of two to a vacuum seal bag with about 3 tablespoons of the fat. Vacuum seal and secure the bags and store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks or in the freezer for several months. Reserve the remaining duck fat for another use or next time you make duck confit.
To reheat the legs, scrape off the majority of the fat and cook, skin-side down in a large non-stick skillet over low heat, until the skin is crisp and the duck is heated, about 15 minutes.
This recipe is sponsored by FoodSaver – all thoughts and opinions are my own.