Duck confit is a classic, and centuries old, preparation for duck (or goose) leg quarters. It is both a dish and a technique that originated in the Gascony area of France and involves the initial step of salt/sugar curing the leg quarter/s then low and slow cooking submerged in its own fat.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve prepared this dish so I referenced a recipe from Mitchell Davis of the James Beard Foundation (see links to the original recipe below).
Note: For instructions on how to break down a whole duck check out the “Extra!” section at the bottom of this post.
For the original recipe from the James Beard Foundation, click on the following link: DUCK CONFIT Mitchell Davis Executive Vice President, the James Beard Foundation; Author, Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter, 2006)
Note: The original recipe called for four duck leg quarters, however, I am using only two so have adjusted the quantities of the original ingredients accordingly.
If you want to learn more about the science behind “confit” I recommend reading “Science of Confit Cooking“.
Duck confit cure:
- 2 duck leg quarters with skin on
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tbsp sugar (organic raw cane sugar here)
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp juniper berries (ok I may have added a little more than 1 tsp; love the flavor)
- 7 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf (my addition and optional)
- 3 cups of rendered duck fat or lard
- The James Beard recipe suggests using lard if you do not have duck fat, which may be ordered online (link in the original recipe).
The cooked duck confit is shown below being served with iceberg lettuce wedges, pearl tomatoes, and chunky gorgonzola blue cheese dressing. You can, of course, serve the confit with any salad of your choice. Another great salad choice would be a classic Caesar salad.
- 2 confited duck leg quarters
- May be served whole or with the meat pulled off the bone
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce cut into wedges (optional)
- 6 pearl tomatoes (optional)
- 1 cup chunky gorgonzola blue cheese dressing (optional):
- 1/4 cup gorgonzola blue cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup safflower oil
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp minced parsley
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Note: This can be made a day or two ahead. Place all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk until fully emulsified, season to taste, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Duck confit cure:
- FOOD SAFETY TIP!
- Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw poultry such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
- Also, I use a yellow cutting board just for poultry as an added precaution against cross-contamination.
Breaking down a duck:
This is part of a series of posts that are a collaboration between myself and Grove Ladder Farm, a small, family-run farm in Sarasota, Florida that specializes in pasture-raised, non-GMO, soy-free poultry for meat and eggs. I created recipes/dishes that featured their various products in order to provide them with photographs to use in their online and print marketing materials. The photos are used with their permission.