Two restaurants in Toronto where I’ve eaten amazing duck confit are Le Select Bistro and Le Paradis. After reading Cooking Meat by Peter Sanagan and finding out he used to work at Le Select Bistro, it was easy for me to choose this as the first recipe that I would try after reviewing his book.
Confit is a traditional method of preserving meat where it’s salted (cured) and cooked in its own fat. France (specifically the Gascony province) has perfected this with duck legs. Once prepared it can be vacuum sealed and stored for several weeks or canned/jarred up to six months.
This dish has been an item I love to order at restaurants because the delicate and tender meat under this amazing crispy skin always left me wanting more. Once I followed this straight forward recipe, I was amazed how easy it was and how great it tastes. I’m going to be honest, I may not order this from a restaurant anymore because it is now going to be on the rotation of meals to make at home. It was delicious!
Since my blog focuses on single serve recipes (for 1 or 2 people), I’ve adapted the ingredient portions of the recipe for 2 but followed the instructions exactly . The original recipe serves 6 so go ahead and buy the book!
Duck Confit Recipe (adapted from Cooking Meat by Peter Sanagan)
1/3 cup of salt
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 garlic gloves
1 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
5 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 duck legs
1 1/4 cup of rendered fat
In a large nonreactive mixing bowl, toss together the salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leave. Add the duck legs and toss well to coat them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day when you are ready to cook, take the duck legs out of fridge. Preheat oven to 275 F
Melt the duck fat in a large ovenproof pot over low heat. Rinse duck duck legs under cold, running water to remove the surface cure, add them to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven until the duck meat is pulling away from the bone, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the fat.
About 20 minutes before you plan to serve the confit, preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of a frying pan large enough to hold all the duck legs (or use two pans). Have ready some paper towels or kitchen towel.
Arrange the duck legs, skin side down, in the pan, add a few tablespoons of duck fat, then set the lower rack of the oven and roast until the skin is golden brown about 15 minutes. remove the duck legs from the oven and allow to cool on the towel.
Arrange the duck legs on a serving platter and serve hot.
Traditionally, duck confit is servied with a garden salad and/or puy lentils. But you can also try mashed potatoes, braised cabbage, roasted sweet or regular potatoes or even frites. Enjoy!