Crispy Duck Confit a French Classic
If you could pick your last meal – what would it be? For my last meal on Earth, I would select a dish that is both humble and classic. I would choose a duck confit. There is something utterly delicious about obscenely crisp duck skin mixed with succulent duck meat. It is a dish that my wife Lisa and I have shared commemorating many events. Duck confit is the very first solid food my son Beaumont ate. Keep reading to learn more about “My Last Meal.”
Crispy Duck Confit and Fried Potatoes
- Dutch oven
- 4 Duck Leg Quarters
- 1/4 cup Coarse Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 bunch Fresh Thyme
- 1 Sweet Onion unpeeled, sliced
- 2 bulbs Garlic (unpeeled) 1 head coarsely chopped, for the other, 2 cloves smashed and the rest thinly sliced
- 1 quart Rendered Duck Fat or Pork Lard
- 1 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 sprig Fresh Thyme
- 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme chopped
- Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Make the Duck Confit:
- Toss the duck legs with salt, peppercorns, thyme, onion, and garlic in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three (3) days.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Rinse the legs and discard the salt mixture. Place the duck in a large Dutch oven and cover with 1 inch of the duck fat. Bake until the meat just barely falls off the bone, about 3 hours.
- Remove the duck from the oven and let it cool in the fat. To serve later, freeze in individual portions with a small amount of fat (for the express purpose of having it ready when you need to brown the skin) and serve it at another time.
- Spoon a generous dollop of duck fat in a large nonstick skillet over low heat until it melts to crisp the duck legs. Add the duck legs, skin-side down, and cook until the skin starts to crackle and turn brown for about 10 minutes. Low and slow is the preferred method here. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Set the skillet aside.
Make the Potatoes:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and the two garlic cloves and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a boil until the potatoes are easily pierced with a small knife, about 10 minutes.
- Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and add them to the skillet you used for the duck. Cook over low heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s light amber, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the potatoes and garlic into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to remove the duck fat. Reserve the fat for another use.
- Return the potatoes and garlic to the skillet and stir in the thyme and salt, and pepper. Serve the potatoes alongside the duck confit on warmed plates.