Often only the legs and thighs of the duck are used for confit. The breast, called a magret, is cooked like a steak. If you intend to use the duck alone instead of using it to flavour other dishes such as cassoulet, reduce the amount of salt in this recipe by one third.
1 large duck (about 4 lb)
3 Tbsp of coarse salt
1 tsp of ground pepper
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves, crumbled
3 lb of lard or duck fat
- Cut the duck in 8 pieces, trimming the neck and wing and removing the backbone; these bones can be used for a soup.
- Rub each piece of duck with some of the coarse salt and put it in a crock or terrine.
- Sprinkle with pepper and the remaining salt and add the thyme and bay leaves.
- Cover and leave in a cool place for 6 to 12 hours depending on how strong a flavour you want, turning the pieces occasionally.
- When ready to cook, wipe the excess salt from the duck pieces.
- Set the oven at 300F.
- Lay the duck pieces skin side down in a flameproof casserole and cook over a low fire for 15-20 minutes until the fat runs and the duck browns lightly.
- Add enough fat to cover the browned duck.
- Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the duck is very tender and has rendered all its fat.
- To preserve the duck; pour a layer of rendered duck fat at the bottom of a small terrine and leave until set.
- Pack the pieces of duck on top and pour enough fat to cover them completely.
- Cover the crock and keep in a cool place at least a week for the flavour to mellow.
- If sealed with a cloth sprinkled with salt and then covered with paper, confit will keep for several months in a cool place.
- To serve the confit by itself, leave it in a warm place until the fat runs.
- Drain it, then fry it in a little fat until it is very hot and the skin is crisp and brown