A good friend of ours once described bacon as a “transcendental experience of deliciousness.” I couldn’t agree more. Duck confit is the closest you can get to that without using a pig. Fatty duck legs and thighs packed in a sweet/salty cure overnight then slow cooked for hours in more duck fat, it makes the mouth water just thinking about it. The meat falls off the bone and dissolves on your tongue. To anyone (mainly hunters oddly enough) who says they don’t like duck, you have never had duck confit!
As with almost all truly sublime dishes, this isn’t something you can just do overnight. You need to take your time, don’t worry it will be worth it!
This recipe is enough for two Duck Legs.
1/4 C. packed Brown Sugar
2 T. Salt
1 tsp. Cayenne
1 tsp. toasted Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Gumbo File
Mix thoroughly in bowl then pack onto Duck Legs. Cover and refrigerate AT LEAST 24 but up to 48 hours. What you’re doing is curing the duck, this is imparting all those flavors into the meat slowly, subtly. It gives the confit an aromatic quality that will whet the appetite and have you ravenous almost immediately.
DAY TWO (or THREE)
In a small baking dish combine:
1/4 C. Onion, chopped.
1 T. Garlic, minced
2 T. Herbs d’Provence
Rinse off the duck legs then place them in the baking dish on top of the onions, etc. Add fat to cover. Traditionally, you would use all Duck Fat, this is really expensive. We used all the fat we could render off a duck carcass, then supplemented it with Lard and Olive Oil. Suet, Clarified Butter or Canola Oil would also work.
Put in a 200 oven for 10-12 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
Gently remove the Duck Legs and strain the fat for future use. You can generally use this fat 3-4 times as long as you keep it in the freezer and strain it really well through a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or even a coffee filter.
There you have it, simple yet elegant. A dish that can be made in virtually any kitchen and will impress almost any eater. Try it and I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s the poultry version of bacon!