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Duck Confit

Duck Leg Confit

Duck Leg Confit

The term “confit” refers to something that is cooked slowly in it’s own fat. Duck legs are the most common item cooked in this manner because ducks are quite fatty and benefit from a long-slow cooking process. The legs are first cured for 24 hours with a wet rub of orange, scallion and spices (including star anise) and slowly simmered in duck fat for 10 hours.

Duck Confit

Choosing Duck Legs:

I like to use duck legs from Maple Leaf Farms which can be found in many upscale groceries and butcher shops. I have never been disappointed with their ducks, whether I use the whole ducks, breasts or legs which are all from farm-raised White-Pekin ducks.

Duck Confit

My Dordogne Confit:

The photo above was taken on one of my foodie trips to the Dordogne valley in France. I prepare the confit in the same manner as the recipe below, but serve it with some fresh fruits that I poach in the local sweet white wine from “Monbazillac” which is similar to a Muscat, Sauterne, or Canadian Ice Wine.

Duck Cassoulet

Confit can be used in many ways:

My recipe for confit calls for 12 duck legs because if you are going through all this effort, you might as well make a decent-sized batch. It freezes well and can be used in anything from crêpes and cannoli’s to onion or bean soups and cassoulet (as pictured above).

Duck Leg Confit with a Green Apple Compote

Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: EntreeCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Difficult


Prep Time

1 1/2

Cooking Time

10 +



  • Duck Leg Confit - 4 legs (recipe below)

  • 1 batch Green Apple-Star Anise Compote (recipe below)

  • 4 cups mixed baby greens

  • 4 Tablespoons Green Apple-Maple Dressing (recipe below)

  • garnish: green apple slices, whole star anise

  • Duck Leg Confit
  • 12 duck legs

  • 3 oz Kosher salt

  • 4 whole star anise, ground fine

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

  • 4 scallions, minced

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

  • zest of 2 oranges

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

  • Green Apple-Star Anise Compote
  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 star anise

  • 2 Granny Smith apples

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped red onions

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

  • Green Apple-Maple Dressing
  • 2 small or 1 large Granny Smith apples

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons real Maple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


  • Searing the duck: Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, place the duck breasts, skin side down in the pan. Sear for 3-4 minutes until brown and crisp. Turn over and brown on the other side until crisp. Be careful, as the duck will spit and splatter!
  • Toss the baby greens with the dressing and mound on the plate. Place the duck leg on the plate and then a spoonful of the apple compote. Drizzle the plate with a little of the dressing and garnish with the apple slices and whole star anise. Serve immediately.
  • Duck Leg Confit
  • Using a paring knife, loosen the meat from the thigh bone of the duck leg. Combine all of the other ingredients in a bowl and rub into the duck legs. Place in a pan, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • After it has cured for 24 hours, remove the duck from the refrigerator and rinse under cold water, until clean. Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees F. Melt the duck fat in a large stove and oven-proof pan and bring to a simmer. Place duck in the fat and place the pan in the preheated oven for 10 hours.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the duck legs. Ladle the fat off the top of the pan and strain it through a fine mesh strainer - note that there will be juices on the bottom of the pan and you do not want to include this with the duck fat. Discard the juices. If you are storing the duck for more than 5 days, then place it in a large plastic tub and cover with the strained fat. It will keep for a few weeks as long as it is completely covered with fat and you have removed the juices as noted above.
  • Green Apple-Star Anise Compote
  • Combine the apple cider, light corn syrup and star anise in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and reduce the liquid by half, about 25 minutes.
  • Peel the Granny Smith apples, cut them in half and core with a melon baller. Cut the apples into 3/8-inch dice and add to the reduced syrup. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes. 
  • Remove the apples from the heat and add the chopped red onions. Cool.
  • When cooled, add the chopped chives and cider vinegar.
  • Green Apple-Maple Dressing
  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.  

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  1. Pingback: Growing Ginger - Chef Michael Salmon

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