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Category: Main courses

Quick duck confit

The best way to get to Paula Wolfert's house is to start out by the duck pond in the Sonoma town square. Drive east through a neighborhood of beautifully maintained Victorian and Craftsman-style homes. After a couple of blocks, you'll ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes active time, 24 hours marinating, 3 hours baking, plus cooling and chilling time | Serves 6
Note: Adapted from "Paula Wolfert's World of Food.".
  • 6 (1-pound) fatted duck legs
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon lightly cracked juniper berries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lightly cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon lightly cracked coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lightly cracked clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cups rendered fat (any combination of homemade lard, goose fat and duck fat)

Step 1Begin 2 to 7 days in advance. Trim the ducks of fat but leave as much skin intact as possible. Render the duck fat; cool, cover and refrigerate.

Step 2Mix the salt, juniper berries, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, garlic, bay leaves, thyme leaves, clove, nutmeg and parsley in a small bowl.

Step 3Rub the duck with the spice mix. Place in a glass or earthenware dish; cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

Step 4The next day, wipe away all the flavoring and juices with a dry towel. Place the duck in a deep baking dish; add the rendered fat. (It should cover the meat fairly well; more fat will render out in cooking to submerge it.)

Step 5Place the dish in a cold oven; set to 275 degrees and cook about 3 hours, until the duck is very tender. Remove the dish from the oven and allow the duck legs to cool in the fat.

Step 6Transfer the duck to a deep container. Ladle fat over the duck to cover. When cold, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The confit keeps up to 6 days, submerged in its cooking fat in the refrigerator. Scrape off all fat before using.)

Each serving (fat removed):
62 calories; 8 grams protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 33 mg. cholesterol; 32 mg. sodium.
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