Duck confit is a traditional French dish that is generally made with a whole duck. This recipe just uses the legs and it is rich, a special occasion dinner in our house. You start preparations the day, don’t be deterred, it’s worth the effort!
- 6 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 4 bay leaves - torn
- 6 cloves of garlic cloves - chopped
- Handful of thyme sprigs - torn
- 4 duck legs
- 100ml white wine
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- Zest of 1 orange
The day before you want to eat the duck you scatter half the garlic, half the salt and half of the herbs over the bottom of a small shallow dish. Lay the duck legs, skin-side up, on top and then scatter the remaining garlic, salt and herbs, orange zest and peppercorns over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Pour the wine into a saucepan that is big enough to snugly fit the duck legs in a single layer. Carefully bush off the salt from the duck legs and place them skin-side down in the wine. Cover the pan with a lid and place on the hob over a medium heat until the wine starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible and cook covered for 2 hours. Make sure you occasionally check that the liquid is still just barely simmering. After 2 hours, the duck legs should be submerged in their own fat and the meat should feel tender. Allow to cool, take the legs out of the fat while still a little warm.
At this stage you can put the legs into a container, pour over some of the duck fat, cover and store in the fridge for up to a month. However, we always want to eat them straight away, so scrape off any excess fat and place skin side up in a roasting tray.
The fat can be kept in the fridge and used for roast potatoes and the juices below the fat can be used to make a rich gravy.
Place the duck legs in a pre-heated oven 220°C, 200°C fan, gas mark 7. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are a deep brown and crisp.
I like to serve these with the duck gravy, mash potato and seasonal greens.