Most recipes for duck confit use just the legs and thighs of domesticated duck. Since the wild birds are much smaller, the whole duck is used for this recipe. Just make sure not to overcook the breast meat.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4 to 6
- 2 ducks (about 4 pounds), preferably fatty
- 1 cup coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cups peanut oil
Cut the duck into pieces, retaining as much skin as possible. Sprinkle all over with the salt and place in a large baking dish. Sprinkle the duck with the pepper and any remaining salt, then add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the duck pieces several times.
Remove the duck from the refrigerator and wipe off all the salt and juice with paper towels. Place the duck pieces skin-side down in a large nonstick skillet and brown over low heat until fat begins to ooze out of the meat, about 15 minutes. Reserve the fat and transfer duck to a slow cooker or a covered casserole.
Pour the fat over the duck and add enough peanut oil to just cover the pieces. Cover the dish or slow cooker and bake or cook at 300°F for about 2 hours, until meat is falling-off-the-bone tender.
At this point, the duck can be placed in storage containers, completely covered with the cooking oil. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week to bring the flavor to its height. It will keep for at least one month refrigerated and may also be frozen for up to a year.
When ready to serve, simply wipe the duck clean of any excess fat. Then brown the pieces of duck in a skillet until the skin is crisp and the meat is warmed through.