Duck Confit with Carrots and Onions

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The hardest part of this recipe is finding duck fat. The second hard part is finding three hours to be home while it cooks.  

Other than that, this couldn’t be easier.  

My friend Jane, who loves good food with joyous abandon, started raving about duck confit about a month ago.  She used the terms “amazing!” and “delicious!” and “one of the best meals I have ever had” to describe the duck confit she had recently enjoyed. Jane goes out to eat in the finest restaurants in Boston with the same regularity that I eat kale – a  lot. So I always take notice when she says something was exceptionally good. And when she said, “I think it’s really easy to make”, I was sold.

It turns out making duck confit is incredibly simple. As I mentioned, the hardest part was finding ingredients and the time to cook it. My local Whole Foods doesn’t carry duck legs (only breasts) and I didn’t seem to carry duck fat. I found a few ordering options online, but never got around to clicking “purchase”. I ended up finding what I needed at Tony’s Market, a small Denver-based chain with a store two blocks from me.

I based the recipe on the description that Jane gave me of her “amazing” meal and a few tips I learned during my online confit research. Fun fact: Confit , pronounced “con-fee”, was originally created as a way to preserve meat.  Curing it in salt, cooking and then storing the meat undisturbed in the baking fat allows the duck to be stored a room temperature for months apparently. I did not try this. Matt and I ate it for dinner immediately.

I used carrots and onions in this recipe, but I’m thinking it would also pair well with other root veggies (rutabaga, celery root?) or cauliflower.  Duck confit over salad greens is another common pairing.

Now that I know where to buy the ingredients, I plan to make it a lot more and try out the confit method with other foods.  Remarkable (or not really :)) how slow-cooking something in fat gives it a delicious flavor. 

Duck Confit with Carrots and Onions

Duck legs, 2 (about 1 pound)

Salt, 1 teaspoon

Pepper, ½ teaspoon

Thyme, ½ teaspoon

Duck fat, 1 pound (This will mostly cover the legs, but leave the top of the legs exposed so the skin crisps up into a delicious treat.  Traditional confit requires that the meat is completely submerged.  You’ll need more than a pound to cover the legs totally.)

Onion, 1 cup chopped

Carrot, 1 large, shredded

  1. Mix all spices together.  Rub spices into duck legs.  Place in bowl or bag and let sit in fridge for 3 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Use a brush or a papertowel to wipe off spices.   Do not run the legs under water.  You want to keep them dry.
  3. Place duck in smallest baking dish they will fit in.  I used a 8×8” baking dish because that’s all I had.
  4. Scoop out duck fat and cover legs with fat.  Place in oven at 275 degrees for about 4 hours.
  5. About ½ hour before duck is done, scoop out a few tablespoons of duck fat and add to skillet on the stove.  Add onion and brown over low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Add carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove duck from oven.  Carefully remove legs from the pan.  The meat should practically fall off the bone.  Shred duck into skillet.
  8. Add another few tablespoons of oil.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Otherwise, indulge!