How to make Duck Confit

Music : Florence and the Machine – My Boy Builds Coffins

Hello and hope you had a happy weekend.  I didn’t post on Friday because I have been making duck confit for about a week – but we finally got to eat it last night and it was unbelievable.  Rosa, Matt and Scott partook in the Sunday Dinner event.  We paired it with a lovely sweet and tart blueberry sauce that matched perfectly. Seasonality, be damned!

I used Thomas Keller’s recipe from Ad Hoc for the duck and a variation of the pomegranate glaze for the blueberry sauce.

What you’ll need for the duck confit:

1 duck leg per person and 2 cups of duck fat per leg. (I ordered duck/fat from  The Greene Grape but you can also order it directly from D’Artagnan.)

Duck Salt:

1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp. of light brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. thyme
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp. black peppercorns

Day 1:

  • Combine in food processor and blend.
  • First, remove any excess fat from the duck legs and discard.
  • Salt each duck leg with about a tablespoon of salt each and place in baking pan, flesh side up, and cover with plastic wrap.

  • Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 2:

  • Place oven rack in the center of oven and preheat to 190 degrees (you must be careful that you keep your oven at this exact temp.).
  • Rinse duck legs under cold water to remove the excess salt.
  • Dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Melt duck fat in oven proof pot with lid (I used my Le Crueset dutch oven).
  • Layer legs, no more than two deep, in pot. Keep on low heat for 10 minutes or so to warm duck legs in fat.

  • Transfer to oven and cook for 8-10 hours.  (This will depend on how many legs you have in the pot.   I did it once with 2 legs and it cooked perfectly at 8 hours.  With the remaining 5 duck legs, it took almost 10 hours). You will know they are done when they are tender and the meat separates from the bone without much coercion but still stays in tact.

  • Remove from the oven and let legs cool to room temperature in the fat. This will take about 2 more hours.
  • Take legs out of fat and place in large storage container.
  • Gently pour fat over legs being careful not to pour the juices.  Make sure legs are submerged in fat.

  • You can save juices in separate container and freeze. Makes great stock for soups. Make sure you collect any particles of fallen duck leg and eat them promptly.

  • Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

5 days later:

  • Remove duck from refrigerator around two hours before you reheat them.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • When duck is loose enough (about the consistency of soft butter), pull legs from fat and put in separate dish.  You can also microwave the container for a minute or so to loosen the fat.

  • Place about 4 tbsp. of fat in a frying pan and heat on high until VERY hot.
  • You can refreeze the rest of the duck fat and reuse it again.
  • Place up to 3 duck legs in hot fat and fry, skin side down for one minute.  Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for 3 more minutes.  Repeat this with remaining legs.  This will crisp the duck skin.

  • Place a cooling rack in a baking sheet and transfer duck legs to a baking sheet, skin side up.

  • Cook in oven for 10-15 minutes to reheat completely.
  • Serve!

What you’ll need for the blueberry sauce: You only need a very little of this to accompany the duck, it’s very sweet.

3 cups of reserved duck juice (or chicken stock)
1 carrot
5 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
3 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of port
1 minced shallot
1/4 cup of sugar
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 cups of blueberries
3 tbsp. of cold butter cut into pieces
  • In a small bowl, melt duck juices (if frozen).  Cut away any excess fat from the juices – which will have frozen at the top).

  • Add chicken stock if you need to.
  • Add carrots, 3 sprigs of thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves, peppercorns, onions, crushed garlic.
  • Boil on medium heat for 45-60 minutes. Will reduce by half.

  • Strain the juices from the veggies and herbs.

  • Cool juices in separate container.
  • In another medium saucepan, combine vinegar, port, shallots, sugar, and chopped garlic and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Mixture will become syrupy.
  • Strain veggies and herbs out of mixture and put syrup back in pot.
  • Add 3/4 cup of duck reduction and blueberries.

  • Simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes until blueberries are soft and mixture is thick.
  • Turn off burner and add cold butter.


Filed under Brooklyn Places, cookbooks, Duck, How to..., Recipes, Sauces, Sunday Dinner

15 responses to “How to make Duck Confit

  1. cia

    I’m very impressed!

  2. Great lesson here!

    I remember the days of making it for the first time at a restaurant job in Princeton…hated having to get it out of the fat in the cooler, but boy is it yummy!

    I am tweeting this one!

    • Thanks so much! I have to say, the whole process, although time consuming, was so worth it – not to mention fun. I can imagine having to make it over and over again might drive one batty though. Thanks for reading Chef E!

  3. martinis2nite

    I took a Martin Wishart cooking class just 5 days ago where we learned all about cooking duck. This description of making the confit is fabulous.

  4. Wow, can you make this again for me?? xo

  5. really impressive. keller would be proud, especially with all the pictures! you two are quite an inspiration!

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