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Duck Confit with Three Types of Carrots

Note: --Duck Confit should have a very crispy skin on the outside and the underlying meat should be very moist and tasty--

Service for 4


Duck confit is one of my favorite dishes to cook. It can be made several days ahead and stays well in the refrigerator immersed in duck fat for weeks, although it will be long gone by then. The only difficult part of the dish is accumulating the duck fat which is rather expensive now to purchase. For that reason I tend to buy a whole duck, render my own duck fat use the carcass for duck stock leaving the breast for a magret dish and legs for confit. Considering what a whole duck costs and what the final products are: ducks are a great value in cooking. Furthermore, what many cooks are unaware of is the health benefits to duck fat. I must admit I was unaware of this in my early cooking days. But, many trips to France, and spending time researching the field I am now aware that duck fat has some very interesting properties.

Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats.(which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). This compares to olive oil which is: 75% monounsaturated fat (mostly oleic acid) 13% saturated fat and 10% Omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% Omega-3 linoleic acid. The main difference between chicken, turkey and duck is that duck contains more linoleic acid, which chicken and turkey contain a higher amount of polyunsaturated fats --- Read more about Health Benefits of Duck Fat

Preparation of Duck

For each 4 legs:

One of two days ahead marinate the duck.6 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper, 3 smashed and diced garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme.

Note: This is my standard marinade, but you can either add or delete several items. Some marinates work nice using ginger and star anise instead of juniper berries. What's most important is salt which will draw out moisture from the legs. Just make sure to rinse and dry the legs off before cooking or the dish will be too salty.

I usually cook the duck for 3 hours and 225F and then 2 hours at about 200F. If you are preparing this dish for guests you can do the 3 hours a few days before, then on the same day just leave the pot in the oven for two hours at 200F. You have to monitor this dish after 3 hours to be careful that the duck does not release from the bone. It won't be a problem with taste but will be more difficult in presentation and for crisping the skin.

Crisping the Skin

Heat one or two tablespoons of fat in a non-stick frying pan. Add the duck legs skin side down and cook on a medium flame till the skin crisps. It may be necessary to hold the legs down to allow for an even sear. Other methods include putting the leg under the broiler in the oven skin side down -- use whatever method works best for you. It may take a few times to get a method you feel comfortable with to crisp the skin, so be patient with this step.

Notes in crisping: Make sure the leg has been left at room temperature before beginning the process.

Preparing the Carrots:

Sauté the carrots in duck fat until some browning begins to occur. Be careful not to go past this point since duck fat can easily burn vegetables. At this point add a small amount of stock (duck, chicken or vegetable). Continue to cook the carrots letting the stock get absorbed by the carrots. Repeat this a second time. You can either do this above on the stove or preferably in the oven. The third time add a teaspoon or two of sugar and more stock. This time let the carrots begin to caramelize a bit. At more stock until the desired taste and consistency is achieved.


It is important in storing duck fat that there are no water soluble products in the fat. This can increase the level of oxidation and decrease the life-time of the fat. After leaving the fat to rest in the refrigerator for a day or two remove the fat and scrape off the liquid at the bottom which will be an excellent source of rich duck stock for your sauce

Also skim any non-fat substances that may have risen to the top of the fat. What's left will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a long period of time and can be used again for confit or frying vegetables -- it is an excellent alternative to butter.


duck confit with mesclun and roasted potatoes
duck confit with polenta

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