Duck Confit "Con-fee" is an old French technique for preserving duck legs in fat. Although most people no longer have to keep duck through the winter without refrigeration, the technique is still used a lot because it makes for delicious eating. A favorite method of preparing meat in pre-fridge France was to preserve it in its own fat. It's similar to maceration, but instead of infusing booze with fruit, you're infusing meat with fat and flavor. Harmful bacteria can't thrive in dense fat, so historically, confit didn't have to be chilled to stay fresh. That said, please refrigerate your duck confit because we no longer live in medieval France.I first had duck confit in Paris one night with my son Maxwell after attending a party at Sacré-Cœur. Coming back starving we went into the little cafe next to our small hotel and they had it on the menu with frits. Once I tasted it, I was hooked! This recipe is not as labor intensive as confit or does it take as much time to prepare. This recipe will give you get meltingly tender meat topped with cracker-crispy skin. It’s salty, meaty, easy to eat with a bonus of crisp. We all love crispy!This recipe was developed by Hank Shaw. I've made no modifications to this recipe.
2Duck leg/thighstry to get the largest you can find
1 tbspDuck fat or good olive oil
Pat the duck or goose legs dry with paper towels. If you have store-bought duck legs, prick the skin of the duck all over with a needle or the point of a sharp knife. (I usually score the skin in a cross-hatch style.) Do not pierce the meat itself. Piercing the skin gives the fat a place to seep out. Salt your duck legs well and set them aside, skin side up. Let them come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes.
Put the legs in a small casserole. How small? You want the casserole to be just big enough to hold the legs. Now you need some fat. If the legs themselves are fatty, you will only need to pour a thin sheen of oil or melted duck fat on the bottom of the casserole, then place the duck legs close together, but not overlapping. If the legs are skinny, add enough fat to come about 1/4 inch up the sides of the dish.
Put the casserole in the oven and turn it to 300°F; if you have a digital oven, you could even go down to 285°F. Do not preheat the oven. Every duck has a different level of fat, so doneness is more an art than a science. But it will take at least 90 minutes, and probably two hours, and even 3 or 4 hours won't hurt them. After 90 minutes, check the duck: It should be partly submerged in melted fat and the skin should be getting crispy.
When the skin is starting to look crispy, turn the heat to 375°F. Check after 15 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden brown. Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Save the accumulated fat for cooking vegetables, other meats or for keeping your skin shiny. I strain the fat through a paper towel, but you really only need to do this if you are saving the fat for several weeks or months; strained, it will keep for 6 months tightly covered in the fridge. Well wrapped, the duck meat itself will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.