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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 a French Classic

Crispy Duck Confit and Fried Potatoes

Chef Francois de Mélogue
This dish is a surefire way to impress family, friends, or virtually anyone you'd like to have over for dinner. There's nothing better than extra crispy duck skin coupled with tender, juicy duck meat flavoured with robust spices and butter. Accompany this gourmet-style duck with perfectly-fried Yukon Gold potatoes, and anyone would guess you're a 5-star chef.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Resting Time 3 d
Total Time 3 d 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Dutch oven

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

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.
Keyword Duck, Duck Confit, Potatoes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Chef François de Mélogue

Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François de Mélogue has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

While staging with Robuchon, Chef François began to shape his personal culinary philosophy of “Cuisine Actuelle,” which showcases the natural flavor in the ingredients used to create his dishes. In line with his belief that food should be prepared without unnecessary distractions or alterations, François creates honest, healthy and delicious cuisine that is approachable and always delightful. Chef François specializes in simply prepared Southern French-inspired cuisine enhanced by his appreciation and knowledge of fine wine, craft beer, charcuterie and cheese. He is a fervent student and strong advocate of regional French cuisines, specifically the rustic cuisines of Lyon and Provence.

Chef François resides in St Albans, Vermont with his wife Lisa and ten-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris.

Take a look at his website Simple French Cooking filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos.

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