Don’t be intimidated by the notion of preparing Duck Confit. It isn’t difficult or fussy, you just need to plan ahead a bit. My holiday season is not complete without a stash of confit legs for any number of occasions and recipes. It’s elegant and easy, plus there is all that rendered fat to use for months to come! I typically make duck confit to serve the day after Christmas with Cassoulet, but the uses are almost endless. This recipe easily doubles (which I recommend) and they pair as well with Chardonnay as they do with Pinot noir.
- 2 whole duck legs (thighs attached)
- 2 cups of duck fat*
- 6 garlic cloves (can leave skins on)
- 4 shallots (can leave skins on)
- 4 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 tbsp coarse salt
*I typically buy this at the grocer or order online from D’artagnan. You can also use extra virgin olive oil or a combination of evoo and duck fat.
Mix fennel seeds, rosemary and salt in a small bowl. Completely cover the duck legs by rubbing them with the spice mixture. Seal up and refrigerate overnight. The next day: Heat oven to 325˚F. Brush the spice mix off of the legs and arrange in a large roasting pan or dutch oven along with the garlic, shallots and duck fat (and/or olive oil). Cover very tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 2 hours or until the duck is very tender and the fat has rendered. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once the legs have cooled they can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
When you want to use a leg, pull it from the pan in its fat and place it on a rack with a sheet pan underneath. Heat under the broiler until the skin is brown and crispy. Confit duck legs are delicious served with roasted vegetables, potatoes, lentils or over beans or bitter greens. And the fat! When the legs have been consumed, I take the fat and put it in small plastic containers in the fridge or freezer for use for months and months for all my roasted needs. I think it might be the best part of making duck confit. Whatever you do, make sure you have a glass of Pinot noir. Cheers!