44 Oz of duck fat you will need 5 to 6 cups depending on the size of your pot
1/4 cup of kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Coarse cracked black pepper
1 Tablespoon of fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme for the marinade plus 4 thyme sprigs for the duck fat
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic plus 5 cloves of garlic for the duck fat
1. The French word “confit” literally means to preserve. It’s a time-honored tradition used by home cooks and chefs to salt and slowly cook an ingredient in fat. A confit is a technique traditionally used to preserve meats by cooking them in their own fat. The best-known example is duck confit. But the term “confit” can be used to describe any ingredient, including vegetables, that has been slow-cooked in fat at a low temperature. Once esteemed as a preservation method, cooking and keeping duck in its rendered fat results in meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat which can be used in a variety of simple preparations. My Favorite part of duck confit is when I crisp up the skin before serving it's mind-blowing delicious. Start by trimming any excess hanging fat from the duck legs. In a large bowl that can hold all four legs add the kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Remove the fresh thyme leaves from the sprigs and reserve 4 sprigs for the duck fat. Remove the fresh tarragon leaves from the stem and run a knife over the fresh herbs. Add the fresh herbs and minced garlic to the kosher salt and take your fingers and infuse the herbs mixture with the kosher salt.
2. Take each duck leg and massage the herbed kosher salt mixture into each leg. Make sure you massage both the skin side and the meat side until all four legs are covered in the kosher salt. Don't worry all this salt will be rinsed off after curing the duck leg. Take plastic wrap and place directly on top of the duck legs. You don't want any air able to access the duck, then place a 2 layer of plastic wrap overtop of the bowl. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. This salt rub will cure the duck legs drawing out water in which microorganisms can live.
3. After 24 hour remove the duck legs from the bowl. You will see water at the bottom of the bowl that is ok. Take each duck leg and run under cold water to rinse off all the salt. When cooking you don't need to add anymore salt the the duck it will have infused all the salty herbal flavors. The meat will also look darker in color that is ok because the meat has been cured. After rinsing off the salt place the duck legs on paper towel and dry off.
4. I like using a heavy Dutch oven that will hold a constant heat for duck confit. The most important tip is use a pan that the duck legs fit tightly together at the bottom with the sides touching them. The reason for this is you will use less duck fat, I used a pan for display purposes only that they didn't fit tightly and I needed 6 cups of duck fat. Add the duck fat to the pan and turn the stove top burner on low and heat the fat up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Drop in the 4 sprigs of fresh thyme and 5 garlic cloves. Place the duck legs in the duck fat skin side up. Important tip make sure the duck legs are fulling submerged into the duck fat. Carefully set parchment paper on top of the hot duck fat and place the lid on the Dutch oven. Set the Submerged duck legs in a 250 Degree Fahrenheit pre heated oven for 3 hours. It is all about cooking low and slow this can be done on the stove top but you have to keep checking the temperature of the duck fat to make sure it doesn't go over 220 degrees but ideal temperature is 200 degrees.
5. After 3 hours remove the duck legs from the oven. The duck will be fall apart tender, let the duck legs sit in the duck fat until their cool enough to remove. After duck legs are cool enough, remove them from the duck fat. In a sauté pan add two tablespoons of duck fat and turn to medium heat when the oil starts to shimmer add the duck legs skin side down. When you place them skin side down in the pan do not try to move them let the skin crisp up this is my favorite part around 5 minutes until nice and brown. Perhaps a more restrained way of eating Duck Confit is with a simple green salad dressed with a spikey vinaigrette to offset the richness of the duck. Also Mashed potatoes with caramelized onions are a sweet and flavored side, ideal for duck. This is ideal for entertaining because it can be made a week in advance just let it sit in its duck fat in the fridge to preserve. ENJOY