Many people have seen duck confit on bistro menus, but not too many have attempted to make it at home. This recipe is essentially duck legs that have been cured with salt and spices and then gently poached in its own fat. Well, do not be put off by the amount of duck fat being called for, as it is the fat that the legs will emerge meltingly tender with a slightly salty but rich flavor. And the best thing is that the duck fat can be reused up to 3 – 5 times (if it is kept in chilled condition) and the flavor will intensify after each use.
4 duck legs with thighs attached
20 cloves garlic, ground into a paste
4 tbsp black peppercorn
1/2 tbsp sea salt, for rubbing in
8 bay leaves
6 sprigs dried thyme
1 litre French duck fat
3 small to medium sized orange coloured sweet potato
1/2 tbsp Manuka honey
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. In a Kenwood Mini Chopper, mill together black peppercorn, bay leaves, sea salt and dried thyme.
2. Rub all leg portions with garlic and spice mix.
3. Lay the leg portions in a high sided container, flesh to flesh, cover and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours.
4. The next day, remove duck from the container and rinse under running water. Pat dry with paper towel.
5. Lay the leg portions at the bottom of a heatproof container, add enough duck fat to cover all the legs.
6. Cook the duck legs in duck fat at 70°C for 2 hours until the meat pulls away from the bone easily. The cooking is long but over low heat.
7. While the duck legs are cooking, heat up water in a saucepan and boil sweet potato until fork-tender. Mashed the sweet potato with a potato masher, mix in butter, season with salt, pepper and honey.
8. When cooking them, put the thighs in a non-stick pan, skin-side down.
9. Cook over medium heat, with the lid on.
10. Half-way through, tip the pan (holding the thighs) to discard as much fat as possible. Flip over the duck legs when the skin is golden.
11. Serve the duck confit warm with mashed sweet potato and garnish.